In Florida, specific laws govern how patients should be treated while they stay in nursing homes. Florida law establishes very basic patient rights and implements standards that all nursing homes must follow.
These laws are meant to protect those in nursing homes who may not be able to assert their own rights. If a nursing home fails to adhere to these regulations, then that can be cause for a nursing home abuse claim.
An estimated 1,800 deaths occur every year because of elder abuse. Roughly 10% of all seniors experience elder abuse every year, which is an estimated 150,000 people. Most states, including Florida, have enacted laws to help combat elder abuse.
Residents’ Bill of Rights
Florida created a “bill of rights” for nursing home residents. Each resident receives a copy of these rights when they begin their stay at the nursing home. The nursing home is required to treat residents in a way that would not violate the residents’ bill of rights.
Below is a quick summary of these rights. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list, and you may have additional rights beyond this brief summary.
1. Right to civil and religious liberties, including knowledge of available choices and the right to independent personal decision
2. Right to encouragement and assistance from the staff to fully exercise your civil and religious rights
3. Right to private and uncensored communication (unopened mail, access to a telephone, etc.)
4. Right to have visitors of your choosing and access to representatives of community-based legal, social, mental health, and leisure programs, and clergy
5. Right to have state and local representatives provide services to you
6. Right to present grievances to the staff or facility administrator, governmental officials, or any other person
7. Right to participate in resident group activities
8. Right to participate in social, religious, and community activities that do not interfere with the rights of others
9. Right to examine the most recent facility inspection information
10. Right to manage your own financial affairs or to delegate that task to someone of your choosing (the facility cannot require you to deposit personal funds with them)
11. Right to be adequately informed of your medical condition and treatments
12. Right to be fully informed of the costs of the nursing home, amenities, and services available either before your stay or at the beginning of your stay
13. Right to refuse medication or treatment
14. Right to receive adequate healthcare and protection and support services
15. Right to have privacy in the facility
16. Right to be treated with respect—courteously, fairly, and with the fullest measure of dignity
17. Right to be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, extended involuntary seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints (except when authorized by a doctor for a limited purpose and period of time)
18. Right to be transferred from the nursing home only for medical reasons or for the safety of the other residents, and given reasonable notice of the transfer
19. Right to freedom of choice in a physician and pharmacy
20. Right to keep personal items as space permits
Related Link : Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
In addition to meeting all of the requirements in the residents’ bill of rights, nursing homes are required to have experienced staff and qualified healthcare practitioners.
For example, there are educational guidelines that must be met to work in a nursing home as a nursing assistant or healthcare practitioner.
Florida law requires that there be at least one dietitian, one nurse, and one physician available at the nursing home at all times. All staff members are also required to complete a comprehensive criminal background check.
A violation of any of the requirements listed in the residents’ bill of rights could be a form of elder abuse. Report elder abuse by calling the Elder Abuse Hotline (available 24 hours a day) at 561-845-2510.
If you suspect that a loved one is or has been the victim of elder abuse in the West Palm Beach area, you may have a personal injury claim.