According to the Florida Health Care Association, there are 697 licensed nursing homes in Florida, and they serve over 70,000 residents. These homes provide acute care, rehabilitative treatment, and convalescent services to older adults and those suffering from disabilities. Despite the startling frequently of Florida nursing home abuse cases, families do not always have many options when it comes to the long-term care and treatment of their loved ones. If a family member suspects that their loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse, they should immediately contact law enforcement and seek the assistance of a Florida nursing home abuse attorney.
Nursing home abuse, neglect, and exploitation is a pervasive, long-standing, and frequently unreported problem. Nursing homes may be criminally and civilly liable when they willfully inflict physical injury or mental harm to a resident. Abuse includes depriving residents of appropriate care and services and sexually, mentally, or physically abusing them. Neglect occurs when a nursing home provider or their employee fails to provide services and treatment that is necessary to avoid physical or emotional harm to a resident. Finally, exploitation arises when a provider takes advantage of a resident by manipulating, intimidating, or threatening them. Many times, nursing home abuse and neglect cases involve injuries from falls, pressure injuries, choking, medication errors, infection, dehydration, malnutrition, and unsafe elopement. These incidents can cause significant long-term damage or death to a resident.
There are several laws in place to address concerns regarding patient underreporting. Nursing homes must notify a resident’s treating physician and family if there are any significant changes in the resident’s condition. Further, before 2013, many nursing homes adopted “no CPR” policies, and would not perform life-saving measures on residents who were pulseless and not breathing. However, facilities must now provide essential life support treatment while awaiting emergency personnel, following the resident’s directives, or when they do not have one on file.