Unfortunately, nursing home residents are all too often treated in such a neglectful manner that it violates their basic human dignity- an affront to all who believe in respecting their elders.
Due to the recurrence of these issues, Florida legislators have even written and passed a measure to guarantee the rights of nursing home residents- F.S.440.022- expanding on protections outlined in the federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. The NHA of 1987 resulted in a “Bill of Rights” being enumerated for nursing home residents.
These rights include, but are not limited to:
- Protection from abuse, neglect and other forms of mistreatment.
- Liberty from restraints- be they physical or chemical.
- The ability to partake in activities and in Resident and Family groups
- The accommodation of needs of a physical, mental and psychological nature.
- To communicate without restriction and with ease.
- The ability to voice complaints without punishment
- To be able to participate fully in ones various healthcare plans and have explained to them all aspects of treatment
However, Florida law expanded this list to include:
- Civil and religious liberties
- Communication that is private and uncensored.
- Visitation by any person providing social, health legal or other services.
- Examination of results of recent facility inspections.
- Manage his or her own financial affairs.
- Refusal of medication and treatment, with an understanding of the consequences.
- Freedom of choice regarding physician or pharmacy.
- Notification of prior room changes.
- Be transferred or discharged only for medical reasons, safety of other patients or nonpayment.
- Receive 30 days’ notice of a challenge or discharge, and the opportunity to dispute it.
If you are unsure whether yours or a loved one’s treatment in a nursing home qualifies as neglect or abuse, potential signs include, but are not limited to:
- Physical injuries such as bruises, cuts, scrapes or various bed injures, i.e. bedsores, especially if they are unexplained, or require hospitalization- and broken bones- in particular, fractured hips.
- Dehydration or hunger (possibly ensuing in rapid weight loss)
- Emotional agitation, withdrawal or upset
- Falling frequently
- Wandering that results in endangerment
- Seeming fear of speaking in front of staffers
- Changes in behavior of an unusual nature
- Conditions that are unclean or actions that are unsanitary
- Medication to the point of constant sedation
- Illnesses ensuing with unusual frequency- and not receiving proper treatment
- An unexpected and unexplained death
Furthermore, these aforementioned issues are not limited to nursing homes: they can also be caused due to breach of duty by CNAs, Home Health Agencies, or various other types of caregivers.
If you or a loved one have experienced one or more violations of the above rights as a resident of a nursing home, or in treatment by a CNA, home health agency or another kind of caregiver, resulting in one or more of the aforementioned consequences, we advise you to seek competent, trustworthy legal representation.