Making the choice to place your aging loved one in a Florida long-term care facility is almost always a tough, emotionally-fraught one. You do it because you believe that experienced medical professionals will be better able to care for them. Because your loved one is no longer able to live on their own and you do not have the ability to provide them with the assistance they require.
In turn, facilities that offer long-term living for the elderly make a binding promise that they will give all of their residents the best possible care. That they operate under accepted protocols. That they fully staff their facilities with trained professionals and have practices in place to catch and stop any violations that could lead to problems.
Sadly, all too often that is not the case in Florida. ProPublica currently lists 92 facilities across the state with serious deficiencies. Worse, with the spread of COVID-19, the federal government suspended routine inspections — this after around 60% of nursing homes had failures in infection control protocols for the previous two rounds of inspections.
This is not a situation where brave medical professionals are putting their lives on the line to help aging residents and sometimes failing in the face of something that seems insurmountable. Those staff members exist in facilities across the state, and we should applaud their efforts and sacrifice.
However, the problems at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida began long before COVID-19. Poor infection control. Lack of staffing. Poor oversight of staff. Delay in treatment. Owners and operators who care about nothing but the bottom line, leading to systematic neglect and poor treatment of residents.
At The Law Office of Andrew Winston we have seen this horrific story play out again and again in the nursing home abuse and neglect cases we take on. Families who put their trust in the operators of a facility only to have that trust violated when their loved ones are harmed — and in some cases die — due to the negligent or abusive acts of those running the facility.
If your aging loved one has suffered an injury in a long-term care facility, you do not have to take it lying down. You can and should fight back to hold them accountable and get the compensation that you need and deserve for what you and your loved one have had to endure.
Andrew Winston and his team of knowledgeable legal professionals have decades of experience taking on nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and medical professionals in general, and we know what it takes to help you prove your case and find justice.
In many cases, abused or neglected residents will not come forward to report instances of abuse or neglect. Some may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or like their voices do not matter. Others may feel intimidated into keeping silent. Finally, depending on their condition, they may not even know that they are being mistreated.
Because of this, it is vital that loved ones act as advocates pay close attention to both behavior and physical signs that can accompany abuse and neglect.
These include but are not limited to:
Broken bones or fractures
Loss of interest in activities or socialization
Silence – particularly in front of caretakers
While none of those issues necessarily mean that neglect or abuse is occurring, if you notice them they should always be reported to the proper authorities and you should reach out to a skilled nursing home neglect attorney. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office deals with abuse reports in Florida.
By filing a report and seeking out legal help, you ensure independent oversight that will prevent the long-term care facility from continuing the behavior — and make it much harder for them to sweep it under the rug.
Coronavirus has turned our entire world upside-down. So in some ways, it is not surprising that it has swept through many nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country like wildfire. However, just because all of us are struggling with COVID-19 issues does not mean that long-term care facilities should simply get a pass.
If your loved one was harmed by coronavirus due to outrageous conduct by the owners of the facility, you likely have a very strong chance of proving that their actions were negligent or abusive. What exactly does “outrageous conduct” mean?
Ultimately, many of these claims come down to facility operators trying to maximize their own profit by skimping on the resources that residents need. In some cases, they may even be involved in illegal schemes that funnel money out of the facility.
What happens when there is not enough money to run a facility properly?
The issues that you will need to prove in your case will depend upon the specifics of the situation, but the end goal should be to place blame on the shoulders of the owners rather than hard-working staff members who were trying to do their best in a bad situation. Your loved one suffered due to systemic errors that would not have existed but for the greed of those at the top.
You might have heard stories about nursing homes asking for immunity from lawsuits related to COVID-19. Sadly, these stories are true.
Here in Florida, the Health Care Association actually sent a letter directly to Gov. DeSantis with this request. Specifically, they asked for “immunity from any liability, civil or criminal” in regards to coronavirus lawsuits.
How this request might impact any cases is unclear. It is possible that there may be some laws enacted that attempt to shield or limit the liability of long-term care facilities.
Because of this, it is even more important to make sure that you work with a Florida injury lawyer who understands the value of keeping up-to-date about such laws, rules, and regulations. Moreover, it is vital that you are aware of the statute of limitations in cases like these and file your claim before time runs out.
Bottom line? Nursing homes and other skilled care facilities have a duty of care to their residents. If they fail in that duty in any way and it results in harm, then they should be held responsible for their actions and those hurt should get fair and just compensation.
Unfortunately, this is something that rarely happens without experienced legal help. So do not try to take on your loved one’s nursing home on your own. Get in touch with our office as soon as possible and we will fight tooth and nail to help you get the justice you deserve.
It starts with you reaching out. Set up your free initial consultation today by emailing INFO@AYWLAW.COM or calling 954-606-6606 or 866-306-9606 (toll-free).