Florida Nursing Home Abuse

In Florida, there are nursing home laws that help protect the basic rights of patients and a set of minimum standards for treatment. These laws were created to safeguard the health and safety of the nursing home residents in Florida.

Staffing Requirements in Florida Nursing Homes

There are a set of guidelines for nursing home staffing and patient ratios established by the Florida Department of Health. Each nursing home must have experienced staff that are qualified as medical professionals. Certified nursing assistants and other health care practitioners must complete educational courses before they are legally allowed to work in nursing homes.

Each nursing home must have at least one physician, dietician, and nurse available on the premises. These professionals must be certified by the state of Florida. The state also requires that they pass criminal background checks before beginning employment.

Standard of Living

Florida nursing home regulations provide residents with certain basic rights. Nursing homes are required to provide an environment that is safe, clean, comfortable, and homelike.

Residents of nursing homes are entitled to clean clothes, bedding, and living quarters. Residents are also required to have regular access to drinking water, hot water, lighting, and comfortable temperatures within the home. Other nursing home laws in Florida specify that nursing homes must install ramps, rails, and other safety features.

Basic Rights of Nursing Home Residents:

  • Healthy meals
  • Social activities and exercise
  • Medication and emergency care
  • Counseling
  • Abuse-free environment

Privacy Protections

Florida law protects patients’ rights to privacy regarding treatment and personal care. Patients always have the right to close their doors and staff members should knock before entering a personal room. This does not apply if there is a medical emergency or if this is in violation of standard medical procedure.

The law also protects patients’ ability to store their possessions in the nursing home without them being stolen or misused. Patients also have the right to reasonable amounts of personal freedom and the ability to make independent decisions.

 The state of Florida protects several other privacy rights including:

  • Right to use a telephone
  • Send and receive unopened mail
  • Receive visitors during appropriate hours
  • Overnight visitation in compliance with facility policy, doctor orders, and federal regulations

Florida Nursing Home Guide

The Florida Nursing Home Guide was created by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. The guide is meant to be used as a resource for families that want to find nursing homes in Florida and compare them to others. The nursing home guide contains contact information and other important information regarding every nursing home in the state of Florida. Information about hospital-based skilled nursing units is also included. Using the guide, families are able to evaluate each nursing home and determine which one would best address the needs of the patient.

Importantly, the guide also includes information regarding violations, citations, and deficiencies of each nursing home. This information includes specific information on each citation such as the severity and scope of the problem. The guide also incorporates a scoring system that ranks nursing homes based on their citations and deficiencies, so that families can identify which nursing homes consistently fail state inspection.

How to Report Florida Nursing Home Abuse

There is a statute of limitations affecting when a victim or family can report an incident of nursing home abuse. According to Florida Statute 492.296, the victim must report the abuse within two years of it happening. If the victim or family did not immediately discover the abuse, they must report it within two years of discovering that it happened. If you or a family member suffered from elder abuse in a Florida nursing home, it’s important that you contact an attorney right away. Contact an experienced Orlando Nursing Home Abuse Attorney, and he can help you evaluate your legal options.

Sources:

“Guide Introduction.” Nursing Home Guide. Agency for Health Care Administration, n.d. Web. 17 May 2013.http://apps.ahca.myflorida.com/nhcguide/

“MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR NURSING HOMES.”Florida Administrative Register & Florida Administrative Code. Florida Department of State. Web. 17 May 2013. https://www.flrules.org/gateway/chapterhome.asp?chapter=59A-4