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Abuse and Neglect a Concern at For-Profit Nursing Homes in Fort Lauderdale, Elsewhere

As a former hospital CEO, Governor Rick Scott doesn’t see through the looking glass from the perspective of a nursing home resident who relies on Medicaid and around-the-clock care to get through the day.

Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect lawyers know that the recent cuts made by Governor Scott will have an adverse effect on nursing home residents and will undoubtedly change the quality of care they receive. The upshot is an increased risk of West Palm Beach nursing home abuse cases.

For-profit nursing homes have become a big business industry and we all know that big business only cares about making money. A former nursing home ombudsman was recently relieved of his duties for investigating ownership of almost 700 facilities.

The Miami Herald reports that the nursing home advocate has filed a whistleblower lawsuit claiming he was forced to resign after he sent letters out to nursing homes throughout the state trying to determine who owns what facilities. He hasn’t requested reinstatement of his position in the suit but he is asking for over $15,000 in damages related to embarrassment and emotional anguish and distress. An investigation has been launched by the federal Administration on Aging.

A recent U.S. Government Accountability Office nursing home study revealed that for-profit nursing homes are sub-par in performance when compared to non-profit facilities.

For-profit homes comprise over two-thirds of nursing homes nationwide and are often operated by private investment firms or publicly traded companies. Private investment firms are apt to spend more money on manicuring a facility to improve the attractiveness, which doesn’t mean that they give better care once they coerce you to signing on the dotted line.

Make no mistake about it: Our elderly loved ones are at risk in nursing home environments throughout the state. A recent article in Reuters offers a few suggestions to help you in your nursing home search.

-Start your search with a helpful website, Nursing Home Compare, which is offered by Medicare and rates nursing homes based on geographic location. It will rate a nursing home on things like fire safety inspections or health evaluations.

-After determining which homes make the cut, schedule an appointment with each facility which includes a sit down meal. Observe the nurse interaction with patients, facility cleanliness, rate the food, and ask questions that concern you. It doesn’t hurt to schedule two or three appointments at different hours of the day to get an overall view of the facility and how it is managed.

-Make a surprise visit to the nursing home before you commit to your elder to residing there. Unannounced visits are typically the most informative. Make note of how issues are resolved.

Some consumers pick a nursing home based on convenience or location. For-profit homes tend to cut corners by hiring less qualified staff or fewer nurses to care for our loved ones. Quality staffing is what keeps a nursing home running and should never be overlooked when choosing a nursing home facility. Managed care should not mean that nurses over-drug patients, or leave residents soiled so that more patients can be tended to in a work shift.

Make your loved one a priority even after you find a home by continually monitoring the care being given to them in order to reduce the risk of neglect or abuse.

The nursing home abuse or neglect attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC are dedicated to protecting the elderly who reside in nursing homes in Fort Lauderdale or the surrounding areas. If you detect abuse of your loved one, call for a free no-obligation appointment at 1-800-561-7777.

Additional Resources:
Ousted Florida nursing home ombudsman sues state, by Bill Kaczor, posted in the Miami Herald.

For-profit or not: What to consider when choosing a nursing home, posted in Reuters.

State Cuts Elderly Dollars Leading to a Higher Risk of South Florida Nursing Home Accidents, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, July 1, 2011.

State Loosens Regulations on Nursing Home Industry, Which Could Lead to More Cases of Elder Abuse and Neglect in West Palm Beach, Elsewhere, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, May 19, 2011.

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