Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Falls are a leading cause of death among older Americans, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and South Florida injury attorneys know nursing home residents are especially susceptible. They’re more likely to be immobile or require significant assistance in moving just to complete basic tasks and functions. They are more likely to be in poorer health to start with, and in turn may have a more difficult time recovering.nursing home falls West Palm Beach

None of this, however, should be understood to mean that nursing home falls are inevitable or that nursing home staff is not responsible to take adequate prevention measures. In fact, nursing home operators have a responsibility to make sure patients don’t fall. That’s because the likelihood of falls as a result of certain conditions/failure to meet care standards is known. The fact that such a fall can result in serious injury? That’s known too. Complications from falls are known to lead to pain, functional impairment, disability and death among nursing home residents.  For this reason, Florida nursing home injury attorneys can assert that falls and resulting injuries in a nursing home setting are a foreseeable consequence of things like:

  • Inadequate staffing of nursing homes.
  • Inadequate training of staffers.
  • Inadequate supervision of nursing home staff.
  • Failure to provide the proper resources necessary.

Even if the nursing home itself was not negligent in causing a nursing home fall, the entity can still be held vicariously liable if any of its staffers were. There is an old Latin legal concept we still use today in Florida known as as respondeat superior, which means “let the master answer.” In other words, if the employee was negligent in the course of carrying out his or her job, the employer can be found liable also. Continue reading

Neglect of an elder dependent is a crime in Florida  – a very serious one if it results in severe injury or death. However, as detailed recently in an enterprise investigation by USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA, the odds of prosecution or even arrest for neglectful nursing home caregivers are slim.  In fact, none of the nursing home deaths state regulators attributed to caregiver neglect resulted in arrest or prosecution. Further, at least one state attorney curiously cited the option of a Florida nursing home wrongful death lawsuit as being the more “suitable” remedy in these cases – even as neglectful caregivers accused of similar acts in other states with comparable criminal laws on the books routinely face felony charges.West Palm Beach nursing home neglect

As long-time West Palm Beach nursing home neglect attorneys helping survivors and family members pursue civil injury and wrongful death claims, the report isn’t especially shocking nor does it directly impact our cases. Lack of accountability, though, could mean residents in Florida nursing homes are at higher risk of neglect and abuse.

Journalists across the state scoured records of all 54 nursing home patient deaths from 2013 through 2017 that were red-flagged by the Florida Department of Children and Families as resulting from caregiver neglect, abuse or failed oversight. Not a single person was prosecuted in any of those deaths. Even when police recommended caregivers face felony charges like criminal neglect and manslaughter, prosecutors declined. Continue reading

A recent government audit revealed more than 1 in 4 cases of possible sexual and physical abuse of nursing home patients was never reported to police. The inspector general’s office for the Department of Health and Human Services largely placed the blame on Medicare for failing to enforce a federal law requiring immediate notification of authorities, including law enforcement and state health departments. nursing home abuse lawyer

The inspector general released an “Early Alert” on the matter, which is part of a larger ongoing investigation into nursing home abuse and neglect. Florida was among the states included in the large sampling of cases. Given the Florida Health Care Association’s report that the population of those over 65 will double by 2026 and that 69 percent of those are anticipated to need some type of long-term care, this is not an issue we can afford to ignore.

While the number of nursing home residents continues to climb – it’s currently at 1.4 million – issues with quality of care are ongoing. And even though there is an increasing awareness about the potential dangers, serious violations of patients’ rights continue.  Continue reading

Corporations love arbitration agreements. Whether it’s a cell phone contract or an employment agreement, compelling people to give up their right to take any future disputes to court is advantageous to these firms.

But as our nursing home abuse attorneys have come to know, people often don’t realize what they’re signing. Arbitration agreements tend to be buried in a mountain of paperwork. This is especially true in cases where nursing homes require new residents/ representatives to sign such paperwork upon admission. nursing home abuse

Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the validity of nursing home arbitration agreements in the May 2017 case of Kindred Nursing Centers v. Clark, an Obama-era final rule via the Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS) prohibited nursing homes that accepted Medicaid (almost all of them) from forcing residents to sign one.

That is now changing with new directives from the Trump administration, much to the sharp consternation of elder care advocates.  Continue reading

945156_wheelchair.jpgAccording to a Miami-Dade County Grand Jury says that the Agency for Health Care Administration must take more aggressive measures to crack down on assisted living facilities to make sure that they comply with the dry rules and regulations. The grand jury believes that more needs to be done to protect ALF residents from Florida nursing home abuse and neglect.

The inquiry came after the Miami Herald published an investigative series about the poor oversight of nearly 3,000 ALF’s. The newspaper found that the state has neglected to properly regulate Florida nursing homes and investigate allegations of neglect and abuse, while allowing many of the worst offenders to stay open. In the last 10 years, there have been at least 70 deaths from Florida nursing home negligence.

In South Florida, do not hesitate to contact our Miami nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers if you suspect that your loved one is the victim of Florida nursing home negligence.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, in the wake of the Palm Beach Post’s investigation into the Council on Aging of Florida Inc. in 2009 over allegations of executive pay abuses and Florida nursing home negligence, the state’s Attorney General’s Office is still conducting its own “active investigation.”

The probe also comes following a whistleblower complaint filed by the chain’s ex-chief human resources officer. Richard Castillo says he was fired because he cooperated with the state’s probe. He is now seeking over $75,000 in damages.

The assisted living facilities under investigation include Glades Health Care Center in Pahokee, Riverfront Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bradenton, and Gainesville Health Care Center. Also, at the Gainesville facility, maggots were found in one 76-year-old patient’s eye socket last year. Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration cited the assisted living facility for not telling a doctor about problems while changing the resident’s eye dressings. Our Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyers posted a blog about this incident last year. Gainesville Healthcare Center, which has ownership connections to Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County, has been flagged for numerous violations in the past by the state.

Nursing Home Patients, Maggots, and Negligent Nursing Care
Unfortunately, finding maggots in a nursing home patient’s wound is not as rare of an occurrence as you would like to think. Unhygienic conditions are one reason why maggots develop in wounds. Basic monitoring and nursing care can prevent such unfortunate incidents from happening. It is important in the wake of such an infestation for a wound to be cleared up immediately.

Our Miami nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers represent nursing home residents and their families throughout South Florida. Assisted living facilities can be held liable for failing to provide a patient with adequate nursing care-especially if this lead to serious injuries, infection, health complications, or death.

Other signs of possible negligent nursing care:
• Poor hygiene
• Malnutrition
• Soiled sheets that aren’t change right away
• Unclean living conditions
• Failure to clean/dress wounds in a timely manner
• Not giving patients medicines as scheduled
• Failure to monitor patient’s condition
• Failure to check patient’s sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other vitals and symptoms.

Nursing home chain target of attorney general’s inquiry, Sun-Sentinel, October 17, 2011
Maggots In Wounds

Florida Nursing Home Guide

Nursing Home Watch List, Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration

More Blog Posts:
Florida Nursing Home Neglect?: Maggots Found in 76-Year-Old Patient at Assisted Living Facility with Palm Beach County Ties, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 14, 2010
Boynton Beach Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit Blames Assisted Living Facility for Elderly Woman’s Bedsores, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 30, 2011
Miami Herald Reports: Florida Nursing Home Neglect Taking Place at a Number of Assisted Living Facilities, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, May 25, 2011
Bill Seeks to Cap Florida Nursing Home Negligence Damages Over Wrongful Deaths, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, April 20, 2011 Continue reading

The family of Annie Lou Jefferson is pursuing Palm Beach County nursing home negligence damages against the Hamlin Place Rehabilitation Center. Jefferson, who died four years ago, developed multiple bedsores while staying at the Boynton Beach assisted living facility.

Her daughter, Maxine Chavis, blames nursing staff for not treating the decubitus ulcers. She is alleging Boynton Beach nursing home neglect.

It wasn’t until Jefferson became unresponsive and was taken to a hospital that a nurse there discovered the bedsores, some of which were open wounds that were as large as grapefruits. Chavis says that her mother also had a huge bedsore on her head.

A Miami-Dade personal injury lawsuit has been filed accusing a male home health care nurse of sodomizing and harassing a paraplegic in his own home. The defendant of the Miami nursing negligence complaint is A.S.A. Home Care, Inc.

Per the complaint, the nurse started taking care of the victim in 2007. Despite the nurse’s obvious sexual interest in the patient, the latter rejected his overtures. Still, the lawsuit contends, the nurse showed the patient porn, brought him a sex toy, and sexually assaulted him when dressing a wound located close to the buttock area. The nurse then allegedly begged the patient not to tell anyone what happened and threatened to otherwise kill himself.

The plaintiff blames ASA for inadequate supervision, failure to provide him with a secure and safe environment, and neglecting to look into complaints that had made about the nurse.

According to a recent Miami Herald investigation, incidents of Florida nursing home neglect are more rampant than we realize. The newspaper cites a number of examples that resulted in patient deaths, including:

• A 74-year-old woman at a Kendal assisted living facility that died after she was restrained too tightly for more than six hours.

• A 71-year-old mentally ill patient that died from burn injuries he sustained after he was left in the bathtub with scalding water at a Hialeah nursing home.

• A 75-year-old patient with Alzheimer’s was ripped apart by an alligator after he wandered from a Clearwater nursing home. This was his fourth elopement incident while at the facility.

According to the Miami Herald, the Agency for Health Care Administration has failed to properly oversee Florida’s 2,850 nursing homes and its operators, investigate dangerous practices, or act on notifications submitted by its own inspectors about possible incidents of nursing home neglect.

Our Miami nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers take allegations of patient neglect or abuse very seriously. Please contact us right away if you even suspect that a resident is being abused or neglected at a South Florida assisted living facility.

More Florida nursing home negligence facts:
• 26 Florida facilities have been closed by the AHCA since 2005.
• In the last year, about 13,250 calls have been made by police to assisted living facilities in Broward County-that’s one call every four hours.
• 1,732 nursing homes have been caught employing illegal restraints, including chemical restraints, on patients since 2002.
• At least once a month a ALF patient dies from Florida nursing home abuse or neglect.
• Out of 70 nursing homes that Florida regulators could have shut down for severe violations in the last two years, only seven facilities were closed.

Signs of possible Florida nursing home abuse or neglect:
• Overmedication or too much sedation
• Broken bones
• Sudden weight loss or gain
• Unexplained bruises or welts
• Frequent illnesses
• Bedsores
• Malnutrition
• Dehydration
• Unsanitary conditions
• Poor hygiene
• Infections

NEGLECTED TO DEATH | Part 1: Once pride of Florida; now scenes of neglect, Miami Herald, April 30, 2011
Florida is taking elderly down a dark, deadly path, Orlando Sentinel, May 15, 2011

Related Web Resource:

Agency for Healthcare Administration


More Blog Posts:

Bills Seeks to Cap Florida Nursing Home Negligence Damages Over Wrongful Deaths, South Florida Injury Lawyer, April 20, 2011
Florida Nursing Home Neglect?: Maggots Found in 76-Year-Old Patient at Assisted Living Facility with Palm Beach County Ties, South Florida Injury Lawyer, September 14, 2010 Continue reading

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would cap noneconomic damages in Florida nursing home negligence-related wrongful death cases at $250,000. The bills, SB 1936 and HB 661, are making their way through the Florida Senate and House respectively. If passed, not only would the new law make it harder to sue negligent nursing homes but it would also make it harder for plaintiffs to obtain punitive damages. The House Civil Justice Subcommittee passed the measure earlier this month and the Florida Health Care Association, which represents nursing home owners, is pushing for the bill to pass.

Our Miami nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers believe that negligent nursing homes should pay victims and their families the maximum in damages possible over the harm that they have suffered. The Florida Justice Association, which represents trial attorneys, and AARP are against the bill. Meantime, according to Jacksonville.com, the nursing home industry believes that its money should go toward providing nursing care rather than defending itself against civil complaints. Many are worried that eliminating the threat of having to pay significant Florida wrongful death damages would allow negligent nursing homes to get away with not being held accountable.

The measure also only allows a plaintiff to sue the party that is licensed to operate the Florida nursing home. This means that if the owner or/and investor of the negligent assisted living facility is based out of state, they cannot be sued.

Our Palm beach nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys are appalled at the treatment and poor nursing care and medical our clients have received while living at a South Florida assisted living facility.

Legislators push to limit lawsuits against Florida nursing-home industry, Orlando Sentinel, April 8, 2011
Bill would protect Florida nursing homes in lawsuits, Jacksonville.com, April 4, 2011

Related Web Resources:
AARP

Florida Justice Association

Florida Health Care Association

House Civil Justice Subcommittee

More Blog Posts:
Florida Nursing Home Neglect?: Maggots Found in 76-Year-Old Patient at Assisted Living Facility with Palm Beach County Ties, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 14, 2010
Florida Pediatrician Says Neglect Led to 12-Year-Old Miami-Dade Nursing Home Resident’s Burn Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 28, 2011 Continue reading