The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has targeted one of the state's most successful administrators of nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities. Eight of the network's facilities are on quality improvement plans enforced by AHCA after years of allegations of poor care for patients.
Inspections of the facilities dating back to 2015 showed that nursing home patients suffered falls, physical abuse and the wrong medications. The widow of one former patient said there were not enough nurses and aides in his facility, and the best employees never stayed long.
"They never talked to him. They never did anything," the widow said of the staff. The man died in a nursing home after more than two years of near-constant care in similar facilities. His widow said she was not informed of the death for more than two hours.
Florida makes it illegal to restrict the social and personal lives of patients in nursing homes and other full-time care homes. Poor conditions in common areas, such as leaving patients suffering dementia or physical limitations with no other options, may constitute a violation of this or other patient rights.
Victims of institutional abuse in nursing homes or hospitals have the right to sue for better care or restitution for previous poor care. Families and conservators often have those same rights if a patient has died or is unable to process what is happening.
Legal representation is advisable for anyone considering a lawsuit over nursing home abuse. A lawyer may increase the chances of a successful suit for a family or victim trying to recover from poor care.