A number of Florida statutes exist to protect our beloved elderly relatives as they spend their final years in nursing homes. Agencies such as The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Elderly Affairs, and the Department of Children and Families regulate and help enforce these laws. The main purpose of these laws is to limit and prevent elder abuse.
Nursing home residents have rights that are delineated in Florida Statute sec. 400.022. This section starts out by requiring all licensees to adopt and make public a statement of the residents’ rights and responsibilities, and ensure that all the residents are treated according to that statement. Among some of the rights nursing home residents enjoy are:
- The right to civil and religious liberties.
- The right to uncensored communication, such as receiving and sending unopened correspondence, access to a telephone, visiting with persons of the residents’ choice during visiting hours, “overnight visitation outside the facility with family and friends in accordance with facility policies, physician orders, and Title XVIII (Medicare) and Title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act regulations, without the resident’s losing his or her bed.”
- The right to deny or withdraw consent to access to any entity or individual that provides certain services within the facility to the resident (certain individuals such as law enforcement officers must have immediate access to the resident).
- The right to present complaints to facility staff, governmental officials, or to any other person; to recommend changes in facility policies and services; and to assemble with others for the purpose of improving resident care, without any form of discrimination or reprisal.
- The right to assemble with other residents in the facility and have one’s family meet and assemble with other residents’ families.
- The right to participate in social, religious, and community activities that do not interfere with the rights of other residents.
- “The right to manage his or her own financial affairs or to delegate such responsibility to the licensee, but only to the extent of the funds held in trust by the licensee for the resident.”
- The right to be adequately informed of his or her medical condition and proposed treatment, if the resident is able to provide informed consent;
- The right to refuse medication or treatment, if able to provide informed consent, to be informed of the consequences of such decisions.
- The right to have privacy in treatment and in caring for personal needs.
- The right to be treated courteously and fairly.
- “The right to be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, extended involuntary seclusion, and from physical and chemical restraints, except those restraints authorized in writing by a physician for a specified and limited period of time or as are necessitated by an emergency.”
- The right to receive notice before the room of the resident in the facility is changed.
Any violations of the resident’s rights set forth above constitute grounds for action by the Agency of Health Care Administration. That agency may deny applications, revoke or suspend licenses, and impose administrative fines.
Additionally, Florida Statute 400.023 discusses the civil actions nursing home residents or their families may pursue when their rights are violated. If nursing home abuse and/or violation of residents’ rights actually caused and resulted in the personal injury or death of a nursing home resident, the resident or his or her family is entitled to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim, if certain requirements that constitute the legal concept of negligence are met.
If your family member has had their nursing home rights violated and it results in the injury or death of your loved one, don’t delay. Call Brooks Law Group today. One of our skilled attorneys can analyze your case and determine whether you are entitled to any compensation.