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Law Enforcement Doing Little About Nursing Home Abuse Complaints in Florida

Discovering that an elderly loved one was neglected, injured, or even worse, abused by those in charge of their care can be devastating for families. When a family suspects that their elderly parent, aunt or uncle, grandparent or other loved one has been abused, it is common that they go to the authorities. Recent reports indicate that despite many reports of abuse, local and state agencies do not have the capacity to deal with the rising number of allegations involving nursing homes. Knowing that the system has become incapable of managing the number of complaints, many victims’ families have had to pursue other options, including legal recourse.

Nursing home abuse and negligence complaints are on the rise in Florida and nationwide. Our Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse attorneys are dedicated to providing comprehensive advocacy on behalf of victims and their families. In the event of a nursing home injury or death, there could be another of responsible individuals and entities. Nursing homes may be responsible for not screening employees and individual caretakers could be liable for negligence. We are dedicated to investigating nursing home abuse or injury cases on behalf of our clients and their loved ones.

According to a recent NPR report, public health regulators have been letting nursing home complaints sit without investigation for years. Even when victims suffered gruesome injuries, alleged beatings, and death, the state failed to properly investigate and file charges against “caregiving” perpetrators. Though public health officials are charged with investigating cases of nursing home abuse, injury, and accidental death, this is a clear case of systematic failings. California is not the only state to have a shortage of funds when it comes to investigating the widespread issue of nursing home abuse cases.

California officials concede that there has been a backlog of more than 900 cases that have piled up since 2004. While the delays have been blamed on poor management, the backlog is also evidence that the number of nursing home abuse and injury cases is beginning to rise. One reason for the investigative process is to strip nurse assistance and caretakers of their license in the event of abuse. According to the report, even the number of assistance facing disciplinary action following complaints has dropped to 9 percent from 27 percent, indicating that these cases are not being investigated, and abusers are continuing to work. Officials stated that hundreds of cases were closed without an official report, only a mere phone call.

When regulators fail to visit facilities, perform thorough investigations, conduct interviews, or consult with victims, they are allowing abusers to continue to work with patients. Nursing home victims may suffer physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Most nursing homes are for-profit, meaning that they cut costs, even at the risk of patient health and safety. Nurses or caretakers may not be properly screened, patients may not be secured or observed, and overall care suffers.

In Florida, pursuing action through a government agency may be a first resort, but you may not get the investigative results or see the punitive action that you expect. When someone you love has suffered at the hands of a caretaker or negligent nursing home facility, an experienced advocate can successfully protect your rights. Though a civil case cannot reverse the damage that has been done, it is one step towards justice and stopping future abuse.

Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights or if you suspect nursing home abuse or negligence.

More Blog Entries:
When Elder Care Facilities Cling to Patients Whose Care Exceeds Their Abilities, Aug. 25, 2013, Coconut Creek Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

Nursing Home Abuse: See How Florida Ranks, Sept. 7, 2013, Greenacres Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Blog

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