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Do nursing homes employ people with criminal records?

Background checks can be done when hiring employees. In a nursing home setting, doing this makes sense. Some criminal records -- like a conviction for domestic violence, for example -- could mean that a person is more likely to be the perpetrator of nursing home abuse and/or neglect.

This process is done in Florida. Background checks have been required since the mid-1990s. In recent years, new legislation was enacted to mandate that employees allow their fingerprints to be scanned and filed. The fingerprints are then turned into digital files and sent to both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Strict screening requirements were set up in 2010.

Even so, the New York Times did an investigation in 2011, and what they found was potentially alarming. While this was not focused only on Florida, the Times found that 5 percent of the employees in any given nursing home on average are convicted criminals. Perhaps more alarming is the fact that they found workers with criminal records in a stunning 92 percent of the facilities they investigated.

In about 50 percent of the facilities, they found five more workers who had criminal records. One example given was a facility in which 34 workers had at least a single conviction. That facility only employed 164 people.

This is a very real concern, despite the steps that have been taken to address the issue. If a loved one has been abused by someone who already had a criminal record, you need to know what rights your family may have to compensation.

Source: New York Times, "Study Finds Criminal Pasts of Nursing Home Workers," Robert Pear, accessed Dec. 23, 2016

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