According to advocacy group Families for Better Care, 140 nursing homes and assisted living facilities are on Florida’s “watch list” for violating state standards or not correcting violations quickly. In fact, one in five facilities in the state are on the list. Twelve of the facilities have been on the list for over 100 days. According to Families for Better Care and other groups, the situation is especially concerning because the facilities are for profit, collectively making billions of dollars per year while patients are placed in potentially unsafe conditions in some cases. According to executive director for Families for Better Care Brian Lee and other experts, there are many things that families can do to help ensure their elderly loved ones are safe from nursing home abuse and negligence in Miami and across Florida:
1) Contact Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. This is the agency that inspects nursing homes and similar facilities. You can find out directly from this agency about any violations of state code. Lee feels that the Agency for Health Care Administration should send out information about nursing home violations. Currently, you need to contact the agency or visit the website to get the information, but while contacting them you can also encourage the agency to make this information more available.
2) Talk to other families. In many cases, anecdotal information can help you understand the quality of care at a facility – even if a facility has not yet been cited for violations. If a family has struggled with a facility because a loved one has suffered from drug-resistant MRSA infections, broken bones, dehydration, and other conditions, that can help indicate the level of care. If other families have loved ones who have experienced slip and fall accidents in Miami facilities or have been admitted with head injuries in Miami emergency rooms due to incidents at a nursing home, that is important information to know.
3) Go online to get more information. The website Floridahealthfinder.gov provides information from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. You can find information by facility or search for nursing homes in a region by worst and best rated.
4) Visit facilities and speak with staff. Speaking with staff and visiting facilities before placing an elderly loved one in a nursing home is an important precaution and helps you determine which nursing home is best. However, once your elderly loved one is placed you should continue to visit and speak with staff in order to determine whether there are any safety concerns.
5) Keep communication open with an elderly loved one who is in care. Conditions in nursing homes can change quickly. Even if a nursing home facility has a great rating when you place your elderly loved one in it, new staff may be hired that does not provide the same level of care. Safety measures may change, as can the condition of the building. In addition, management may change hands, which can also affect the quality of care at the facility. If you keep communication open with an elderly loved one, you could be alerted when there are causes of concern.
If you feel that an elderly loved one is in danger, you will want to take action right away. If an elderly loved one has been injured and you believe that nursing home negligence is the cause, contact the Flaxman Law Group legal team in order to arrange a free case evaluation.