When to Suspect a Problem

What If I Suspect Florida Nursing Home Neglect Or Abuse?

If you suspect that a loved one is suffering neglect or abuse in a Florida nursing home, it’s important to speak up and make your concerns known. Florida law protects residents of nursing homes and other adult living facilities from mistreatment and abuse, but that protection is meaningless if no one takes action when neglect or abuse is suspected.

At the Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, law firm, we have more than 30 years of experience helping injury victims, including victims of nursing home mistreatment. Contact us now to discuss your concerns in a free and confidential consultation. We represent clients across South Florida, including the Treasure Coast, Okeechobee and Palm Beach Counties, with our main office located in Stuart, Florida. Call us today toll-free at (888) 649-6092 or use our online form.

Florida Law Protects Nursing Home Residents

Florida law – Chapter 400 of Florida’s Public Health statutes – governs nursing homes and related health care facilities. The law provides for the development, establishment, and enforcement of basic standards for the health, care, and treatment of nursing home residents. It also governs the maintenance and operation of nursing homes to ensure residents’ safe, adequate and appropriate care, treatment, and health.

Among many other rights, Florida guarantees nursing home residents the right to be free from mental and physical abuse, and it protects from liability anyone who makes a good faith complaint about a suspected violation of a resident’s rights.

Florida’s Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights also guarantees nursing home residents their rights to:

  • Civil and religious liberties
  • Private and uncensored communications.
  • Reasonable access to health, social and legal services
  • Present grievances without fear of reprisal
  • Be treated courteously, fairly and with the fullest measure of dignity
  • Privacy
  • Be transferred or discharged only for medical reasons
  • Be free from corporal punishment, seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints
  • Choose their own physician and be informed of their medical condition and treatment plan
  • Receive adequate and appropriate health care, protection and support services

If you think that a resident’s rights have been violated, it’s important not to ignore your suspicions. You just might be right, and by taking action you’ll be protecting your loved one, and possibly others.

What Do I Do if I Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?

Depending upon the severity of the harm you suspect, it’s likely best to talk first with the nursing home’s administrator or its staff director. There also should be a patients’ rights representative as part of the facility’s staff. They may be able to resolve your concerns and provide the relief you’re looking for.

If that doesn’t work, or you think outside help is necessary at the start, there are Florida state agencies that can help:

  • Florida Department of Children and Families – The Florida Department of Children and Families includes the Adult Protective Services Program, which seeks to protect vulnerable adults from being harmed. The Department also operates the Florida Abuse Hotline, where reports of abuse can be made by telephone at (800) 962-2873, or online.
  • Florida Agency for Health Care Administration – This agency licenses and regulates health care facilities, including investigating complaints about nursing homes. It operates a call center to receive consumer complaints about such facilities in Florida. The call center can be reached at (888) 419-3456, and there is additional information about filing complaints available online.
  • Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program – The state’s Ombudsman Program is operated by the Department of Elder Affairs. The program consists of more than 300 volunteers who work to improve the quality of life for people who live in long-term care settings such as nursing homes and adult family-care homes. The volunteers and staff respond to concerns raised by residents and others in order to protect residents’ personal health, safety, welfare, and rights. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program can be reached by telephone at (888) 831-0404.
  • Local Law Enforcement – Of course, if the concern you have is an emergency, or you think that a criminal violation has occurred, you should first call 911 to involve the local police.

No matter the situation, it helps to have documentation about your concerns, including photographs of resident injuries or problems with the facility, and your records of whom you spoke to about the problems.

All of these agencies listed above may be able to help you obtain relief for the issues you’re concerned about. They cannot, however, obtain compensation for the harm that your loved one endured, and some issues may be beyond their ability to resolve.

In those cases, a Florida nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer can help protect a resident’s rights under the law, including filing a lawsuit for damages.

Contact Our Florida Nursing Home Neglect And Abuse Law Firm Today

If you’re concerned about your loved one’s treatment at a nursing home or other adult long-term care facility, Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, can help. We’ll sit down in a free consultation to talk about your concerns, assist with any issues you find confusing, and explain what we can do to get you legal relief.

Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, represents clients across south Florida, including Port St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Jupiter, Fort Pierce, and Vero Beach, with our main office located in Stuart. Simply call us today at (888) 649-6092 or use our online form.



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