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Many Floridian nursing homes on watch list for neglect, abuse

Choosing a nursing home for a loved one can be a difficult decision, especially when stories of horrific incidences populate the news. With this in mind, many Floridians thoroughly assess their options before making a decision. Yet, there may be bad news for Florida's nursing home residents that put them at extreme risk of injury or even death.

According to a study conducted by Consulate Health Care, 36 percent of Florida's fastest growing industry leaders have been placed on a watch list for failing to meet state imposed standards. Additionally, of Florida's 682 licensed nursing homes, 139 have been placed on the Agency for Health Care Administration's watch list, which was created to designate homes with a history of nursing home neglect, safety violations, improper staffing, and financial mismanagement.

What does this mean for Floridians? For one thing, it may make choosing a nursing home difficult, as some may find the nursing homes in their area are ill equipped to properly care for their elderly loved one. Also, and more importantly, those who currently live in watch list nursing homes may be at a greater risk of nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse.

It is important Floridians know the signs of neglect and abuse so that, should the situation arise, they know when they should seek help. Neglect and abuse may be evidenced by bedsores, a nursing home fall, rapid weight loss, or unexplained bruising. If any of these injuries are detected, a nursing home resident and her family should consider seeking legal assistance.

A Florida attorney can represent the injured nursing home resident in an attempt to both punish the nursing home that wronged her and to recover compensation for the victim's harm. The attorney may question nursing home staff, assess facts surrounding the injuries, and gather medical reports in an attempt to show that nursing home negligence or abuse caused the victim's harm. If successful in bringing the claim, the victim may be entitled to compensation to cover her pain and suffering and any further medical expenses that may have been incurred.

With all this being said, the sad news is that any nursing home can be dangerous. Thus, families should carefully consider their options when choosing a home for their elderly loved one and should remain aware of signs of neglect and abuse.

Source: WCTV, "Florida's Nursing Home Industry On Notice," Lanetra Bennett, Nov. 6, 2013

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