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Advocates pushing for nursing home neglect reform

Last year an investigation found that since 2002 Florida assisted living facilities caused the deaths of at least 70 people by abuse and neglect. This sparked outrage for advocates looking to punish the offenders so a governor-appointed task force was put together to identify specific protections for people who reside in nursing home facilities and develop legislation to help protect them.

According to advocates, only a few proposed laws are still alive in the 2012 legislative session and they feel that not enough is being done to protect residents. Currently, there are proposals being decided upon and they include a bill that would protect residents from being evicted from the nursing home facility if they complained to authorities about living conditions.

Another bill is going for a vote that would allow the state Agency for Health Care Administration, which currently licenses and inspects the facilities, to be able to fine a nursing home up to $10,000 for any violation when it involves the death of a resident. Advocates feel that this is still not enough and that a nursing home should immediately lose their license while an investigation is taking place.

The AHCA does feels that it has the control to close a facility if they feel it's warranted and believes it has enough regulations in place to do its job. They feel that creating more regulations does not solve problems with enforcement, and that it won't prevent the negligent behavior.

Advocates feel that if any of these bills are to pass, they need to pass quickly and they are hoping that with the media attention that is focused on nursing home neglect, will help further their cause.

Making the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home or an assisted living facility is never easy. So when a family decides on a nursing home, they expect that the home will meet certain standards of care, safety and cleanliness for the benefit of all residents. Yet, many facilities fail to uphold these standards and the elderly residents end up sick or injured. If you believe that your loved one has experienced negligence, abuse or mistreatment, you should contact an attorney that specializes in nursing home abuse. They understand your feelings of betrayal and will work for you to obtain the results that you and your loved one deserve.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Hope wanes for major assisted-living reforms in Florida," Kate Santich, Mar. 3, 2012

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