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Federal and State Regulations for Nursing Homes Intended to Protect Patients

Nursing home care is often viewed as a sort of moral obligation, a duty to one’s elders. Still, absent federal and state regulations for nursing homes, this care can fall short, leaving the ill and elderly vulnerable to neglect and abuse. In fact, it was widespread nursing home abuse and neglect in the 1980s that led to the federal¬† Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987.¬†

Nursing homes that receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid (which is virtually all of them) are required at minimum to follow federal nursing home standards. However, state regulations for nursing homes, such as those adopted by Florida, must also be followed if facilities want to continue to receive this funding.

Florida State Regulations for Nursing Homes

Florida hasn’t changed its administrative rules for nursing homes since before 2007, though as our Miami nursing home abuse attorneys can explain, statutory changes have been made to Chapter 408. For example, 2012 legislative changes significantly modified the background screenings required for numerous service providers, including health care providers at nursing homes licensed by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Those providing services to the elderly and disabled individuals need to undergo a Level 2 screening, have fingerprints retained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, have their photograph taking at the time they are fingerprinted and sign a privacy policy. The ACHA is responsible for maintaining these records, and the new requirements became effective for all agencies subject to state and federal funding no later than Sept. 30, 2013.

Federal Regulations for Nursing Homes

The federal regulations that bind all Florida nursing homes (in addition to the state regulations for nursing homes) include mandates to ensure:

  • Sufficient nursing staff.
  • Comprehensive and accurate assessment of each resident’s functional capacity.
  • Comprehensive care plans dedicated to each resident.
  • Prevention of deterioration of a resident’s ability to bathe, dress, groom, move, use the restroom, eat and communicate.
  • Residents have proper treatment and assistive devices for vision and hearing.
  • Prevention of pressure sores and prompt treatment if one develops.
  • Appropriate treatment and services if a resident is incontinent.
  • Each resident has proper fluid and hydration.
  • Acceptable parameters of each resident’s nutrition status.
  • Residents have a right to choose their health care, schedules and activities.
  • Pharmaceutical services meet each patients needs and are free of significant medication errors.
  • Dignity, respect and quality of life is maintained.

Miami nursing home abuse lawyers know that while some of these directives are very clear and straightforward, some are open to a bit of interpretation. However, federal and state regulations for nursing homes in Florida are broadly interpreted in favor of the resident.

Although some incidents may fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice, many nursing home abuse and neglect claims are simple negligence, which is defined as breach of a duty of care resulting in actual harm to another person. Violation of any of these statutes can constitute as negligence per se, which means breach of law can be used as evidence of negligence or used to establish the presumption of negligence. Plaintiffs still must prove the other elements, but negligence per se can make it easier to prevail.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Minimum Standards for Nursing Homes, Complete List of Minimum Standards of Care for Florida Nursing Home Residents

More Blog Entries:

Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Injury Lawyer Discusses Problems With Patient Lifts, Transfers, Nov. 14, 2018, Miami Nursing Home Lawyer Blog

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