Gov. Rick Scott signed a pair of bills in March of 2018 requiring skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities to have generators capable of maintaining a temperature of 81 degrees or lower for four days.  Many of these facilities have not complied with this law as we approach 2020.   The Agency for Health Care Administration data revealed that over 50% of the state’s nursing homes did not install the mandated equipment as of August 2019, and  Pinellas County is an area where compliance is low regarding emergency power plans.  The new law was passed to make certain wrongful death and injury does not occur to residents who are subjected to high temperatures, and necessities that require electricity after storm conditions. Inquire with staff to see when compliance has or will take place, if you cannot make any headway contact an attorney to help you with a formal complaint to AHCA.

Resident’s Rights.

Under Florida Statute 400 –  Florida nursing home “residents have the right to be treated courteously, fairly, and with the fullest measure of dignity and the right to be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, extended involuntary seclusion, and from physical and chemical restraints…”   They also should be safe from negligence in care, negligence from dangerous staff, and negligence due to dangerous living conditions.  It is the administration’s responsibility to make certain proper hiring and firing of certified staff is undertaken, and that caretakers are sufficiently trained on all policies and procedures, such as reporting all accidents and injuries whether they are caused by negligence or misconduct. Residents or families can sue for monetary compensation for an injury resulting from abuse, neglect, or accidents at a nursing home.

Nursing Home Abuse.

Nursing home abuse is addressed in Florida Statute 415 – Adult Protective Services and covers acts that inflict injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with the result of physical harm or pain or mental anguish, or deprivation by an individual, including a caretaker, of goods or services that are necessary to attain or maintain physical, mental and psychosocial well-being as well as acts of negligence that cause or exacerbate existing health conditions.

Common types of abuse,

  1. Verbal abuse – The directed use of oral, written language or improper gestures that include critical, offensive and belittling terms to residents or their families
  2. Sexual abuse – sexual harassment, sexual coercion or sexual assault.
  3. Physical abuse – to hit, slap, pinch or kick or affect control by the threat of corporal punishment.
  4. Mental abuse – humiliation, harassment, threatening punishment or deprivation, and gas lighting.
  5. Involuntary seclusion – Separating a resident from other residents taking them from their personal space, or even confinement to his room (with/without roommates) against the resident’s will, or the will of the resident’s legal representative.
  6. Unintentional Abuse – warning signs may include developing bed sores due or appearing unkempt, having problems with teeth, or becoming less mobile because they resident is sedentary too long.

Report noncompliance.

If you notice that a  nursing facility has not updated their backup generators in compliance with Florida law, talk to the supervisor, social worker, director of nursing and/or your doctor. If you feel the issue has not been addressed, and you are concerned about the safety of your loved one, you may contact the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) who routinely handle nursing home complaints at (888) 419-3456 or file a complaint online.

Hire a lawyer.

If you have experienced nursing home abuse, or are a family member of someone who has, call the Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet for a free consultation.

Yeazell and Sweet Law Offices

(727) 480-6211
(727) 851-9555
(813) 956-2224

Fax: (727) 851-9556

1901 Ulmerton Road, Suite 435
Clearwater, FL 3376

Sources:

https://skillednursingnews.com/2018/03/florida-nursing-home-generator-rule-finally-becomes-law/

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0415/0415.html

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0400/Sections/0400.022.html