It is vital for senior citizens living in assisted-living facilities, as well as their families and friends, to avoid or report incidents of elder abuse perpetrated by the management or staff of those facilities. Unfortunately, the isolation of nursing home life can make spotting these incidents difficult.

The government of the state of Florida, home to the highest population of nursing home residents in the country, is considering a “residents’ bill of rights” to expand the stated rights and privileges of those who call nursing homes home. While this legislation is being debated, seniors and families should know the laws that already protect their health, safety and dignity.

What are the laws that protect nursing home residents?

The current set of protected rights for nursing home residents is listed in Florida Statute 400.022. Chapter 400 of the Florida State Code involves nursing homes and related facilities in general, so residents and families should be aware of the full statute.

What are the protected rights?

As well as the right to be free of physical, mental, psychological and financial abuse, reasonable preservation of health is guaranteed under Florida law. The dignity of patients, information regarding their care and the right to present grievances without retribution are also on the list.

What can we do if these rights are violated?

Informing law enforcement is always an option for nursing home residents and others who suspect abuse. An attorney may be a helpful ally in contacting the proper authorities and communicating evidence of abuse.

Source: Nursing Home Abuse Guide, “Nursing Home Statutes in Florida,” accessed Dec. 27, 2017