As the American population ages, the nursing home and assisted living population is expanding rapidly. Unfortunately, as nursing home populations grow, nursing home abuse is on the rise. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that at least 12.5% of nursing home and assisted living facility residents have experienced some form of abuse, and two out of three eldercare givers admit to having been abusive within the last 12 months.
So how do you protect your loved ones? If you have a family member under the care of a Florida nursing home, you need to know how to report abuse and neglect in a nursing home before there is ever a problem. In this post, the team at James Horne Law PA offers a brief guide on how to protect your loved one. James “Jay” Horne equips families to challenge the broken nursing home system and file nursing home abuse complaints when the system fails the vulnerable people it is supposed to protect.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. It can include any intentional, negligent, or reckless act or omission that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a nursing home resident. Examples of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse of any kind;
- Emotional or psychological abuse, which can also include verbal abuse;
- Sexual abuse;
- Neglect, which can include failure to provide necessary food, water, medication, hygiene, or medical care;
- Financial exploitation, which can include theft, fraud, or misuse of a resident’s money or property; and
- Abandonment, which can include leaving a resident alone without proper care or supervision for any period of time.
Nursing home abuse can be committed by staff members, other residents, or visitors to the nursing home. If you suspect nursing home abuse, report it immediately to protect the safety and well-being of all residents, not just your loved one. If you need to know how to report nursing home abuse, contact the James Horne Law team today.
What Steps Should You Take When Reporting Nursing Home Abuse?
If you suspect nursing home abuse in Florida, there are several steps you can take to file a complaint. Once you have made sure that your loved one or the individual in question is physically safe and away from any immediate threat of further abuse, making a report to the appropriate authorities is typically the next step.
Contact the Appropriate Florida State Agency
If you need to know how to report abuse in a nursing home, any number of state agencies may be able to help. You can contact the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) to report the suspected abuse. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also report the suspected abuse to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) by calling 1-888-419-3456. The AHCA is responsible for regulating nursing homes in Florida.
Additionally, you can file a complaint online through the Florida Healthcare Complaint Portal. This state portal allows you to file a complaint against a licensed Florida healthcare provider or against a Florida state business or institution. The Florida Department of Children and Families provides a similar portal for individuals to make a claim on behalf of a vulnerable adult victim of abuse.
Finally, you may want to contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in your area. This program provides advocacy services for nursing home residents and can investigate complaints of abuse. You can find the local ombudsman program by calling the statewide toll-free number at 1-888-831-0404.
Contact Florida Law Enforcement
If you believe the abuse is criminal in nature, you should contact your local law enforcement agency to file a report. If there are additional steps for criminal case reporting, your local police department can explain how to report elder abuse in a nursing home for purposes of a criminal complaint.
Contact a Florida Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
During the reporting process, if you feel uncomfortable or like your concerns are not being heard, don’t hesitate to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. You can contact an attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse cases for advice and assistance in filing a complaint and pursuing legal action. The James Horne Law team has handled hundreds of nursing home abuse cases, and we pride ourselves on the firm but sensitive way we negotiate resolutions for the families of those who have been harmed in nursing homes.
Remember, it is important to report suspected nursing home abuse as soon as possible to protect the safety and well-being of the residents. It is also important to report suspected nursing home abuse as soon as possible to preserve your rights to file a claim later.
How Do You File a Nursing Home Abuse Complaint in Florida?
Reporting a nursing home abuse complaint is sometimes not enough. Sometimes, files languish on the desks of even the most well-meaning state regulators for years. By hiring an attorney, you can ensure that your family has an advocate to hold the nursing home accountable for the mistreatment your loved one suffered.
Unfortunately, trials can drag on, and your loved one may suffer further while waiting for legal resolution. A skilled attorney can help you decide how to pursue your claim and what venue to file it in. They can also help you determine whether you should negotiate with the nursing home and seek a settlement or enter into alternative dispute resolution like mediation.
Get in Touch with a Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Florida nursing home abuse attorney James “Jay” Horne is an experienced personal injury lawyer who handles some of the toughest elder abuse and neglect cases in Florida. Jay is recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as an AV-Preeminent rated attorney and by SuperLawyers. James Horne Law will give your family’s case the attention it deserves so you can focus on physical and emotional recovery. Contact us by phone or online today to schedule a free consultation.