Heavy criticism of Florida’s nursing home oversight comes as little shock to nursing home neglect lawyers in Miami and other advocates for elder care in South Florida.
CBS4 Miami reported earlier this month on the revocation of a Hollywood nursing home’s license after resident deaths during Hurricane Irma. The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Broward County came under fire after temperatures rose to more than 100 degrees inside the facility, leading to the deaths of as many as 12 senior citizens.
The Naples Daily News reviewed 54 Florida nursing home deaths from 2013-2017. No criminal prosecutions occurred in any of the cases, all of which were deemed by the Florida Department of Children and Families to have resulted due to staff neglect or mistreatment. The ongoing investigation by the USA Today network revealed the Agency for Health Care Administration rarely even issues fines, even when another state agency reports neglect or mistreatment of Florida nursing home residents.
Other conclusions of the investigative report are equally startling:
- In three-quarters of neglect deaths reported by the Florida Department of Children and Families, the AHCA took no action against the nursing home.
- The AHCA (the state’s nursing home oversight agency), admitted to failing to investigate 10 of the deaths
- It’s unclear whether 18 others were investigated because the deaths are not noted in agency inspection reports.
- In more than half the death cases, the AHCA had cited the nursing homes for similar problems.
Nursing home abuse lawyers in Miami know these conclusions barely scratch the surface when it comes to the state of Florida’s nursing home industry.
More than 72,000 seniors reside in Florida nursing homes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 70 percent of nursing home beds are owned by for-profit companies. The elder care industry is much larger once the assisted-living and home-health care industries are included.
Lack of oversight makes choosing a suitable home for an elderly loved one a critical decision for family members. The Agency for Health Care Administration offers a number of resources for choosing a Florida nursing home.
The holidays are also a time when nursing homes and other elder care facilities receive more visitors. Visitors should know these facilities will be on their best behavior. Unclean conditions, unclean or unkept residents, excessive odor or short-staffing, may all be signs of a poorly run facility. Even a lack of décor, holiday visitors or activities may be signs of a substandard facility.
When shortcomings result in patient abuse or neglect, it’s incumbent upon us all to do our part to police the system and make sure our most vulnerable residents live out their lives with peace and dignity. The most common signs of abuse or neglect in Florida nursing homes include:
- Negligent supervision: Falls are a leading cause of nursing home death. Dementia, wandering away, and assault are also common causes of serious or fatal injury that result from lack of supervision.
- Bedsores: Lack of physical activity or movement, unclean sheets, dirty skin, and other negligence most often lead to bedsores. Infection and life-threatening medical conditions can result, as these sores get progressively worse when left untreated.
- Malnourishment: Wasting can be caused by a number of factors, including lack of physical activity and lack of proper nutrition and medical care.
- Medical Care: Medications and treatment of medical conditions (including proper dental, hearing, and vision care), are all necessary to maintaining quality of life.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Miami are dedicated to fighting for the rights of seniors and their families. We believe it makes the system safer and holds nursing home companies accountable.
If you’ve been injured, call the Miami personal injury lawyers at the Flagler Personal Injury Group at 305-424-8445 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
We handle a variety of cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Personal Injury Attorney in Miami.