Nursing homes are supposed to be safe. This safety spans from medication administration to diagnosing conditions and proper toileting. However, many nursing homes fail in their duties and leave residents seriously injured or dead. With nursing home neglect being of great concern to Floridians and others across the country, a new scorecard was recently released, giving each state a letter grade for its nursing homes’ quality of care.

The good news for Floridians is that Florida received a “B” grade for overall quality of care. Yet, those who have loved ones in a nursing home should not be complacent with this grade. While Florida received a decent overall grade, there were specific areas where Florida did not do so well, areas that could harm patients. For example, Florida received an “F” for its low average amount of time professional caregivers gave per resident. Decreased personal patient care increases the risk of something going wrong or unnoticed. Additionally, Florida has 140 nursing institutions on a watch list for deficiencies that could pose risks to residents.

When nursing home neglect occurs the results can be painful, both physically and emotionally. Signs of neglect and nursing home abuse include bedsores, a nursing home fall, rapid weight loss, and unexplained bruising. If any of these symptoms arise, a resident and her family should file a complaint and consider consulting with an attorney.

An attorney can discuss with the family the possibility of bringing a lawsuit against the nursing home. If the nursing home breached its duty of care to the patient by, for example, failing to provide adequate nutrition, failing to give proper medication, or not allowing residents to go to the bathroom, and injuries result, a lawsuit may succeed. Then, the resident who was wronged may obtain compensation for her damages.

Nursing homes are supposed to protect those they are entrusted to protect. When negligence happens, these institutions must be held accountable. An experienced attorney may be able to help ensure they are held responsible for the harm they have caused.

Source: WGCU News, “Report Grades States on Nursing-Home Care,” Margie Menzel, Aug. 13, 2013