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Florida Nursing Home Abuse Investigation Leads to Fine

A nursing home in Ormond Beach was fined $36,000 for the reportedly poor way it handled allegations of sexual abuse involving an employee against a patient.

Our Coral Springs nursing home abuse lawyers know this is a fairly substantial fine, considering that the most serious offenses will typically involve state fines of approximately $40,000. Initially, the facility was given a $45,000 fine, but that was later settled for the lower amount.

According to media reports, a resident of the home reported to administrators back in January 2012 that an employee of the facility had climbed into bed with her roommate. She couldn’t indicate whether anything beyond that had happened, but suffice it to say, such action is egregiously inappropriate, a violation of patient rights and likely a red flag sign of serious misconduct, if not criminal sexual assault or battery.

It does appear the nursing home conducted a cursory investigation by subsequently interviewing the alleged victim. However, that individual denied that anything had happened.

In a typical investigation, we might understand why this would lead to a dead end. However, in a nursing home setting, we don’t know whether the patient is fully cognizant and aware of surroundings and what may have occurred. It could very well be that the roommate is more aware of the truth than the actual victim – which would make sense from the standpoint of a sexual predator searching for a vulnerable target.

But the nursing home did not press on with its investigation. The bigger issue is that it did not properly report the incident to criminal investigators or social services, as required by law.

Regulators only found out about the allegation following a regular inspection. Failure to correct this type of issue, the state reported, was likely to cause serious impairment, harm, injury or death to residents.

The facility, which has 133 beds, was subsequently placed on both state and federal watch lists for a series of violations.

Most recently, inspectors conducted an investigation of the home’s practices back in February. They found a whole host of deficiencies, which included:
–Deficient infection control practices;
–Inadequate food;
–Excessive medication errors.

Despite this, the nursing home is rated by the federal Nursing Home Compare site as “above average” in terms of both quality and staffing.

However, the health inspection rating is marked as “much below average,” which resulted in the facility having an overall score of 2 out of 5 stars.

Sexual abuse in nursing homes is one of the most under-reported crimes. You can’t always count on an alert roommate or staffer to alert you to when something is amiss. Even if your loved one is mentally sharp, he or she may be afraid to reveal the truth.

Uncomfortable as it is, it’s important for all relatives and loved ones to recognize the potential signs of elder sexual abuse.

Those might include:
–An unexplained venereal disease or genital infection;
–Torn, bloody or stained underclothing;
–Bruises around genitals or breasts;
–Unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding;
–Withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness and a sudden depression or loss of interest in things once enjoyed.

Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
State fines nursing home $36,000 for mishandling sex abuse claim, April 18, 2013, By Skyler Swisher, The Daytona Beach News-Journal

More Blog Entries:
Testimony of Brutal Nursing Home Abuse Fails to Sway Florida Lawmakers, April 9, 2013, Coral Springs Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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