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State loosens regulations on nursing home industry, which could lead to more cases of elder abuse and neglect in West Palm Beach, elsewhere

West Palm Beach nursing home neglect lawyers know the stress a family goes through when they discover their parent or loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home or assisted living facility. We expect elder care facilities to treat our elders as if they were their own relatives, but the reality is nursing home abuse and neglect in Miami and elsewhere occurs more frequently than we like to think. If you suspect abuse or neglect at a nursing home, the advice of a legal professional can help you sort out the appropriate steps to take in order to prevent further injury or abuse in the future.

It doesn’t appear we can any longer count on state lawmakers to protect our elders, according to a recent article in Orlando Sentinel. The state is cutting back on requirements for the nursing home industry, which include less staffing and doing away with watchdog programs. Watchdogs are the only voices that speak up on behalf of elders who are abused and neglected, so taking them away will be detrimental. The head of the watchdog program was recently let go by our elected governor after reporting several incidents of neglect and hygiene deficiencies in facilities throughout the state.

The watchdog program has proven highly effective and cost-efficient in the last couple of years. More than 400 volunteers would go out to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to investigate on behalf of the senior citizens who reside at them. The program conducted more than 9,000 investigations, a record high in one year, and received a 98-percent satisfaction rating.

As we posted previously on our South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, nursing homes and
elder care facilities are one of the most profitable industries in the state due to the high number of older adults who end up moving there when they can no longer take care of themselves. Members in the industry are looking to cut corners at the expense of the elders who can’t defend themselves or who are too scared to speak up. The nursing home industry has become big business with the top five chains controlling more than 200,000 beds in thousands of facilities throughout the U.S.

Choosing the right elder care facility can be a difficult process for both you and your loved one. The following are some tips that could help you make the right decision:

-Visit as a resource for finding the right home, compare different facilities and print off a checklist to assure nursing homes you visit are of good quality.

-Make arrangements to visit several nursing homes in order to get a feel for their cleanliness, caretakers, personalities and living environment.

-Ask a lot of questions, especially if your elderly loved one has specific needs.

-Discuss the facilities with your loved one after you visit to get his or her opinion on which one they liked best. It is important that you and your loved one agree and both feel good about which facility they will live in.

If your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home in West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for advice about your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777 for a free consultation today.

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