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Cases of South Florida nursing home abuse range from simple neglect to the macabe

A 76-year-old resident of the Gainesville Health Care Center was found to have maggots in his eye socket during an examination at a Veterans Administration facility. The Gainesville nursing home where the eye-cancer survivor resides is part of a chain controlled by Maxcine Darville, who was the subject of a Palm Beach Post investigation last year.

The chain includes the Glades Health Care Center in Pahokee and the investigation found that Darville and others related to her “enjoyed salaries above industry norms and spent money on luxury cars and hot tubs” while nursing homes under her care were consistently ranked regionally in the bottom 20 percent by state regulators.

West Palm Beach nursing home attorneys know that with 17.2 percent of Florida’s 18.5 million residents over the age of 65, issues of elder care and abuse are a major concern for many.

According to Florida Department of Elder Affairs, there are more than 1.3 million Floridians over age 65 with at least one documented disability. Statewide, there are more than 650 skilled nursing facilities, 2,800 assisted-living facilities and close to 200 adult day cares that service hundreds of thousands of short-term, long-term and permanent residents each year.

Despite a host of governmental agencies specifically established to address elder care issues within the skilled nursing community, quality of care issues at many of these facilities remains under-reported. With that said, statewide there were more than 32,500 allegations of elder abuse and neglect reported to the Department of Children and Families in 2004.

Regarding the Gainesville facility alone, from 2007 to 2009, the home was cited 39 times by the Agency for Health Care Administration for a host of violations that ranged from unsanitary food storage conditions to improper maintenance of ventilation systems. Again, in mid-August, an unannounced AHCA inspection found the nursing home out of compliance for reporting issues with changing one resident’s eye bandages.

We believe it is incumbent upon each of us to police the system. If you are visiting a South Florida nursing home and have concerns about conditions or the treatment of patients, please speak up. Call our office for a free and confidential appointment. If not you, who? If not now, when?

South Florida nursing home lawyers at Freeman & Mallard know that due to budget cuts and streamlined staffing protocols, many Florida nursing homes are understaffed. Ultimately, it is the residents who pay the price. We have been successfully and aggressively representing personal injury, abuse and neglect victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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