Articles Posted in Nursing Home/ALF Neglect

When you make the decision to place a loved one in the care of a nursing home, you want to be sure that the facility you have selected is providing quality care to their residents. The sad truth is that many nursing homes have staff that will neglect or abuse vulnerable residents left in their care. Our Hernando County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you to keep your eyes open to any of the red flags explained below when you are visiting nursing homes and making your selection. We can help you and your family when a loved one in a nursing home Spring Hill or Brooksville is being mistreated.

  1. wrist-watch-ga9fedbe05_1920-300x125Staff Cannot Answer Your Questions: When you are shopping around for a nursing home, it is an excellent idea to have a list of questions ready for the staff. If they cannot answer your questions, or seem reluctant to answer, then this is a definite red flag. On that some note, if you have a loved one in a nursing home already and have concerns about bedsores, weight loss, or sudden behavioral changes, then this could be a warning sign that your loved one is being mistreated.
  2. Staff is Overwhelmed: If staff members appear to be rushing around and overwhelmed, then this is another red flag. This can mean a facility is understaffed or that their staff is not properly trained to care for their residents. Staff that is chaotic and frenzied can also mean that they lack proper leadership, and that administration is not touching base with staff about patient care.
  3. Turnover Rates are High: This often means that the nursing home does not have adequate staff or perhaps untrained staff. If when you visit your loved one you notice new faces, then this could mean the facility has high staff turnover, which is a big red flag that something is amiss.
  4. Staff Interactions with Residents are Concerning: If you notice a staff member yelling at or treating a resident unkindly, then this is a huge red flag that something bad is happening. If they are treating a resident badly, then this means that they could do the same to your loved one. Similarly, if you notice call lights on for lengthy periods of time or if your loved one says that they do not want to be cared for by a specific staff member, then this is definitely a warning sign for abuse or neglect.

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Elder abuse happens more often than you may think, and often goes unreported. Sadly, at least 5 million senior citizens suffer from elder abuse every year in the United States, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). 1 in 10 senior citizens over the age of 60 suffer from abuse, and only 1 in 14 cases are reported to police. The elderly that have suffered abuse are at a 300% higher risk of death compared to those 60+ that have not been harmed or mistreated. 

What Constitutes Elderly Abuse? 

Elder abuse can be many things, including: 

Last year 14 elderly people died due to overheated conditions in a Hollywood, Florida nursing home after the air conditioning failed during hurricane Irma.

Acting quickly to avoid a similar tragedy, Governor Rick Scott signed an Emergency Rule, that mandated that nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALFs) have generators installed for the purpose of running climate control systems that will maintain temperatures below 80 degrees during a power outage by June 1 – the official start of hurricane season.

Many Hernando County ALFs have not had enough time to implement these new requirements.

Failure to comply with the emergency rules will result in penalties including fines up to $1,000 per day and the possible revocation of a facility’s license.

As of June 15, 524 nursing homes and 1,027 ALFS filed extensions to complete these requirements.

Obtaining an extension means that the facilities are still in compliance with the law, despite not having the backup power fully in place or not inspected.

Facilities that have filed extensions must have plans that include:

  • Bringing a temporary generator onsite during power outages
  • Contracting for priority fuel replenishment during a power outage
  • Moving residents to common areas that can be cooled with an existing generator
  • Evacuation if needed

For the entire state of Florida, AHCA data shows 100 percent compliance among all 684 statewide nursing homes. And 1,722 out of the state’s 3,097 ALFs have met the mandate’s requirements, for a 55.60 percent compliance rate.

Nursing home and ALF residents are at high risk during natural disasters, so it is important that our laws protect them rather than hurt them. Nursing home and ALF regulations are enacted for very good reasons, but the sad truth is that they are often neglected. A disregard for residents and neglect of the rules and regulations can often times lead to a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

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