By Michael R. Jackson, Shareholder
Jackson Law International is proud to protect residents from abuse and neglect in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes, board and care facilities, and other similar residential adult care facilities, or, at minimum, seek justice for those already injured in these settings. The firm is most active in the Central Florida area, including Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, and Volusia Counties, but has also handled cases throughout the state of Florida, including Baker, Clay, Flagler, Marion, Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties.
After years of defending physicians working in long term care facilities and, to an even greater degree, defending the facilities themselves – both in Texas and in Florida – I, and this firm, now serve the needs of those who have suffered abuse and neglect in Florida nursing homes and the long-term care setting. Although there are compassionate care givers who work in the long-term care industry, not all of the staff working at such facilities care about the needs of their facilities’ elderly and vulnerable resident population. Moreover, even those who enter the profession with high ideals and a desire to provide a high level of care to the residents within their charge often become jaded because they are overworked and underpaid for their efforts by their employers – the very facilities charged with ensuring the welfare of its residents. Corporate greed leads to inadequate facility budgets and compromises the ability to provide the level of care legally mandated by the Resident’s Bill of Rights, as reflected in the Florida Statutes. Corporate greed also undermines the moral obligation to care for those who number amongst the most frail and defenseless in our population. All too often my conferences with staff, as the defense attorney for the long term care facility, led to comments by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants that they were so overworked that if they actually provided all of the care that residents were supposed to receive on a daily basis then they would not reach all of the residents in their care and some would even die. Thus, these caregivers learn to cut corners and skip steps in the care plan – some of which result in disastrous consequences for the residents in their supposed care.
The one overriding theme evident in my years of defending the long-term care industry was the begrudging admission by the caregivers that those residents who had involved family members always received the best level of care. Thus, if you want your loved one to receive the best possible care, visit them regularly in the facility, become acquainted with the staff assigned to them, and ask questions. Moreover, when the facility schedules meetings that are designed to include the family, attend! Lack of involvement by the family only leads the staff to focus their efforts and attention upon other residents about whom they are being quizzed by more attentive family members. Unfortunately, even with regular and consistent family involvement, it may not be enough to bring about needed care for residents whose caregivers work in understaffed facilities. Instead, such facilities create an environment where adequate and appropriate healthcare, as defined in section 400.022 of the Florida Statutes, is impossible to achieve in light of the budget limitations their corporate hierarchy puts into place.
If you have a question about whether the treatment of your family member, friend, and/or loved one is / was appropriate under the laws governing nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes, board and care facilities, and other similar residential adult care facilities in the state of Florida, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately at Jackson Law International.
© Jackson Law International 2012