What to do if you Suspect Abuse in a Nursing Home or Rehabilitation Facility

nursing-home-abuse-suspectFlorida’s managed care residents have the right to feel safe when it comes to daily living in a nursing home, long-term care facility, or physical rehabilitation center.  All three types of treatment centers house residents who may rely on staffers for basic needs, such assistance getting out of bed or using the bathroom. These residents should be able to trust staff members to treat them fairly and with basic respect and compassion.

Reporting Complaints against Managed Care Facilities

Sadly, this is not always the case. Reports of abuse have been substantiated in nursing homes and in centers for brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation. If a resident complains of abuse, or if family members begin to observe signs of abuse, appropriate action should be taken:

1.        File a complaint with one or more Florida regulatory agencies:

Facility Complaint Hotline:

1-888-419-3456

Complaint Hotline: 1-850-245-4339

Abuse Hotline: 1-800-96-ABUSE

Tampa Office: 1-813-233-2920

Main Office: 1-866-875-1794

 2.       Contact local police in any event of abuse and get a complaint on file. In many cases, a substantiation of the abuse will lead to an arrest and prosecution of the responsible individual. Abuse of an elderly or disabled person is considered a felony offense.

 3.       Contact an experienced nursing home or personal injury attorney. A lawyer can help to determine whether the patient or family members have a potential claim for damages against the nursing home or rehab facility at which the incident occurred. In some instances, victims may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.

Note: These three steps should be taken concurrently, not necessarily one after the other. Make contact with a regulatory agency, the local police, and a nursing home/rehab center abuse attorney all as soon as possible.

References:

AHCA – http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/contact/index.shtml
FDEA – http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/doea/report_abuse.php
FL LTC Ombudsman Program – http://ombudsman.myflorida.com/Complaint.php
Disability Rights FL – http://www.disabilityrightsflorida.org/contact/contact_info
FL DOH – http://doh.state.fl.us/mqa/enforcement/enforce_complaint.html
Families for Better Care – http://familiesforbettercare.com/contact/

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