News headlines regarding nursing home negligence where people are dying and suffering abuse in South Florida is becoming too commonplace, and surrounding community organizations such as the Broward Organized Leaders Doing Justice are trying to make a stand against abuse by pushing for stricter laws for nursing homes to be accountable, and looking for alternate monitoring methods that will entail swift action when abuse is suspected.
Under Florida Statute 400 – In general, 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, except those restraints authorized in writing by a physician for a specified and limited period of time or as are necessitated by an emergency. …Restraints may not be used in lieu of staff supervision or merely for staff convenience, for punishment, or for reasons other than resident protection or safety.”
Violation of Rights Could Lead to Punitive Damages.
Nursing homes may be liable for negligence in care, negligence in hiring/firing staff, and/or negligence in training staff on policies/procedures such as reporting accidents and injuries. Residents or families can sue for monetary compensation for an injury resulting from abuse, neglect, or accidents such as a fall from a bed accident and receive punitive damages for ”intentional misconduct” or “gross negligence”.
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 psycho-social well-being as well as acts of negligence that cause or exacerbate existing health conditions.
Common types of abuse:
- Verbal abuse – The directed use of oral, written language or improper gestures that include critical, offensive and belittling terms to residents or their families, or where they can be heard even when a resident cannot comprehend such abuse including: 1) threats of harm or scaring them through fabricated stories.
- Sexual abuse – sexual harassment, sexual coercion or sexual assault.
- Physical abuse – to hit, slap, pinch or kick or affect control by the threat of corporal punishment.
- Mental abuse – humiliation, harassment, threatening punishment or deprivation, and gas lighting.
- 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.
- Unintentional Abuse – warning signs may include developing bed sores due to failure to change the victim’s sheets and/or regularly reposition the resident to improve circulation, exacerbation of conditions like diabetes due to changes in medication, diet and exercise, frequent falls, or poor hygiene such as bathing or brushing teeth.
Call an Attorney.
If you have personally experienced nursing home abuse, or are a family member of someone who has, you should seek the legal advice of an attorney specializing in cases that will address your concerns at the Madalon Law Group.
Madalon Law Group
100 N. Federal Hwy #CU5
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301