One would expect that assisted-living facilities would abide by only the strictest of standards, as the clientele they serve, the elderly, are often in need of medical help. Unfortunately, such expectations are not always fulfilled and some Florida residents may be shocked to hear that prosecutors have begun an investigation into such facilities in the Miami area. The investigation comes after a local newspaper published a series of reports focusing on the ever growing problem of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Florida is known as a haven for senior citizens, and the Miami-Dade area may be particularly noted as such, as it has more nursing home facilities than any other county in Florida. However, in 2008 and 2009, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration was forced to close seven homes after finding problems. That may seem like a small number of facilities, until one considers that there were a total of 70 homes that had problems bad enough to qualify them to also be shut down. With more than 900 homes in Miami-Dade, that means almost 8 percent of all nursing homes should not be operating.

In one unfortunate incident, an elderly citizen drowned in a pool behind her nursing home. The 85-year-old woman had been suffering from dementia and had apparently wandered outside. However, facility was never punished for the woman’s death. As the investigation into all nursing homes continues, authorities could find many more such tragic cases that could have been prevented.

Florida families and senior citizens who believe that have been affected by nursing home abuse should consider consulting with an experienced attorney. It may be that the home is guilty of medical malpractice or another form of negligence. An attorney may be able to assist with identifying possible claims and bring the facility to justice.

Source: The UPI, “Miami assisted-living homes investigated,” Oct. 27, 2011