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Jacksonville Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

Long heralded as the premier retirement state in the country, Florida’s elderly population is one of the highest of all states. Their laws for elder care and abuse are considered part of a zero tolerance policy. Any abuse of an elderly person, whether abuse, aggravated abuse, neglect, sexual misconduct, exploitation, or self-neglect are met with severe charges.

Additionally, the state requires that anyone who has reason to believe that an elder is being abused report that knowledge to the Florida Abuse Hotline (1-800-96-ABUSE). If a person fails to report a known case of abuse or neglect, they themselves are guilty of a crime, and could face legal action.

Harts Harbor Nursing Home

In Jacksonville, Florida, one nursing home is under fire again in 2016, after a history of abuse and neglect allegations. Having been sued at least twice before, the Harts Harbor Nursing Home is now under investigation after the wrongful death of a resident who was attacked by another patient.

In previous years, the Jacksonville facility has been ordered to pay up to 750,000 dollars in damages to an ex-resident who was raped by another resident, after having been left unattended by staff who knew he had a history of sexual abuse. The Harts Harbor facility avoided paying this settlement when new operators took over the business shortly after the ruling.

The company that owned Harts Harbor during that time also owned, at one time, up to 15 other nursing care facilities across the southeastern United States. Nine of those facilities were rated at just a single star by the federal government, the lowest quality ranking for health care providers possible.

In the last two years, police have been called frequently to remove violent patients from the property. The new investigation, prompted by the death of the attacked patient, is ongoing.

Glenwood Nursing Home

In 2011, a nursing facility called Glenwood in Jacksonville was closed down after violent behaviors by patients became too unpredictable. This facility was owned by the same organization that is now responsible for Harts Harbor.

This closure forced many patients into the care of other Jacksonville nursing care facilities, the ripples of which are still being felt today. New nursing care facilities are expensive to operate, especially for those that require ongoing medical treatment like the patients that were living in Glenwood.

Florida State Laws

The residents of places like Glenwood and Harts Harbor are both elderly and disabled, being mostly populated by those with dementia, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses. The laws that cover elder abuse also have wording regarding the care and treatment of those with mental illness.

Neglect, abuse, and exploitation of an adult with a developmental disorder or mental illness is also considered a criminal act, and the laws for reporting are the same. Anyone who suspects that abuse may be happening in any of these cases is required to report to the ABUSE Hotline.

The court program, the Thirteenth Circuit Elder Justice Center, is in place to help those Florida citizens over 60 with legal matters. The Department of Elder Affairs is also in place, and has a Senior Legal Helpline to provide free advice for legal matters pertaining to elder care. This hotline is 1-888-895-7873.

Finally, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office are the two main agencies in the state that investigate claims of elder abuse. They are assisted by the Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which is staffed by volunteer advocates who help those living in nursing homes and assisted living situations retain their rights and report instances of abuse.

Sources:

http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/family-courts/family-law-self-help-information/information-elders.stml

 

http://apd.myflorida.com/zero-tolerance/relevant-laws/

 

http://www.jacksonvilleinjuryattorneyblog.com/2016/02/problems-harts-harbor-nursing-home-north-jacksonville.html#more-444

 

http://jacksonville.com/news/health-and-fitness/2011-04-27/story/troubled-jacksonville-nursing-home-has-90-days-close?utm_source=story_footer_recommendations&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=cxense

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