Who can help me if I suspect nursing home abuse?
There are a number of agencies available for you to contact in the event you suspect that a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility has been abused, neglected or have had their resident rights violated. Your first step should be to contact the administration and/or risk management department of the facility you loved one is residing in. Make a formal complaint and ask for an investigation. This action will put the nursing home on notice of suspected abuse, allow the facility the opportunity to investigate your claim and form a basis for any future actions that you may look to pursue.
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the facility, or you feel your report is not being taken seriously, you should contact The Agency for Healthcare Administration. The Agency is the regulatory body empowered by the state to license and oversee the operation of nursing homes and long term facilities. Based upon your complaint, the Agency can institute an independent investigation of your allegations. The Agency has broad powers to administratively sanction a nursing home and. In extreme situations, revoke the nursing home’s license. You can contact the Agency by telephone at 1-888-419-3456, or visit their website at www.ahca.myflorida.com to register your complaint.
An additional agency that may assist you in the event you suspect abuse is the Department of Children and Families. It is the intent of the Legislature, through the Department. to provide for the detection and correction of abuse, neglect, and exploitation through social services and criminal investigations and to establish a program of protective services for all disabled adults or elderly persons in need of them. Upon a call to the Department’s Abuse Hotline, an adult protective investigator will be sent to the facility to conduct an investigation. Depending upon the outcome of the investigation, administrative sanctions and/or criminal penalties may result. The DCF Abuse Hotline is 1-800-96ABUSE (2-2873) and select option 2, or visit their web site at www.dcf.state.fl.us.
In the event that your suspicion of abuse is the result of a physical injury, you should also notify local law enforcement, as well as any of the agencies and parties listed above, of your belief that abuse has occurred. Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities have the same protection under Florida law as any other citizen in the state and law enforcement should be involved in any allegation of physical injury for the safety of the injured party as well as any potential future victims.
If you, or a loved one, know of a family member that has been a victim of nursing home abuse, you should contact a qualified, experienced attorney right away to advise you of your legal rights. The Law Office of Dan Newlin & Partners is dedicated to protecting those rights. Our phone number is (407) 888-8000. We have a staff that is experienced in handling nursing home abuse cases and knows the right questions to ask in order to get the right answers. You are encouraged to call our office any time for a free consultation and it would be an honor to answer any questions you may have.