Nursing Home Neglect
Most nursing homes provide caring, necessary services to our elderly or disabled loved ones. Sometimes, however, the picture is clouded by error, neglect, malpractice, or abuse. Wilner Hartley & Metcalf is committed to full investigation, and prosecution if warranted, of any suggestion of nursing home malfeasance.
What's the Law?
Nursing home litigation in Florida is primarily governed by the “Resident’s Bill of Rights” found in Chapter 400, Florida Statutes. Claims may also be made under traditional common law survival claims and wrongful death claims under the Wrongful Death Act..
The “Resident’s Bill of rights” is located at section 400.022 and provides the basis for a nursing home negligence claim. The following is a summary of the rights most commonly violated and which most commonly form a basis for a nursing home lawsuit.1(a) civil and religious liberties
1(b) private and uncensored communication (access to telephone, mail, visiting with persons of residents’ choosing)
1(d) right to present grievances
1(e) organize or participate in resident groups
1(f) participate in social, religious and community activities
1(g) examine results of most recent inspection
1(h) manage own financial affairs or designate licensee (if so, quarterly accounting must be provided)
1(i) fully informed in writing of services and fees for such services
1(j) right to be adequately informed of medical condition, proposed treatment, right to participate in planning of all medical treatment,
1(k) right to refuse medication or treatment and be informed of consequences (if incompetent and refuses, the family or legal rep. Must be notified)
1(l) right to receive adequate and appropriate health care and protective support and services; social services, mental health services, recreational activities, therapeutic and rehabilitative services “consistent with recognized practice standards within the community and with rules as adopted by the agency”.
1(m) privacy in treatment and in caring for personal needs (closed doors, staff knocking before entering, security in personal possessions) AND privacy in resident’s body during toileting, bathing and other activities of personal hygiene
1(n) treated “courteously, fairly and with the fullest measure of dignity”
1(o) free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, extended involuntary seclusion and from physical and chemical restraints
1(p) transferred from medical reasons or the welfare of other residents and advance notice of 30 days
1(q) freedom of choice in selecting personal physician. Obtain pharmaceutical supplies and services from a pharmacy of resident’s choice
1(r) right to retain and use personal clothing and possessions
1(s) copies of rules and regulations of the facility
1(t) right to receive notice before room change
1(u) informed of bed reservation policy for hospitalization
2 - copy of residents rights to each resident AND to every member of the staff
“each licensee shall prepare a written plan and provide appropriate staff training to implement the provisions of this section”.
These rights are enforced through section 400.023, F.S.:
Any resident whose rights as specified in this part are deprived or infringed upon shall have a cause of action against any licensee responsible for the violation...
Section 400.023 was amended to add subsection (6) which provides for the recovery of attorneys fees if a plaintiff is successful in a suit against the nursing home. Punitive damages are also available and are not limited by Chapter 768 caps since section 768.735 , F.S., specifically provides an exception for “abuse of the elderly” and “civil actions arising under Chapter 400”.