Nursing Home Abuse
Governor Rick Scott stayed true to his word this week by implementing several new safety standards and regulations for assisted living facilities in the state of Florida. Scott had vowed to take action after it was discovered that multiple nursing homes and ACF’s throughout the state were ill-equipped to deal with natural disasters and the problems that arise in the days immediately afterwards.
Tragedy struck a South Florida nursing home this week, where six residents at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills have been reported dead, according to officials. A criminal investigation has since been launched in order to determine their cause of death in this terrible nursing home accident, but authorities believe it “may be related to the loss of power.”
Widespread power outages due to Hurricane Irma ravaged the coastal region this past weekend, with 12 million people still without power as of Tuesday.
Recovery efforts after hurricane Irma are well underway throughout the entire state of Florida, with individuals and communities attempting to assess the damage and rebuild—in some cases from the ground up. While the state grapples with continued flooding and sudden sinkholes, one of the primary focuses at this point in time lies in getting the power back on line for everyone affected by the storm.
The average age of the population in Florida is greater than the national average. People retire from the colder northern regions of the country and enjoy the sun and mild climates in the state. As a result, the state has the highest percentage of elder citizens in the country at 65 or older — at 17.3%.
If we commit a crime, there are consequences. There are legal and criminal consequences. There can also be professional consequences, and people can lose their ability to practice a profession.
We all want to make sure our parents and loved ones are well taken care of. When they are receiving medical care or staying in an assisted living facility, we expect they will receive the highest level of care. They should be treated with love and respect.
In a story closely followed by Orlando elder abuse attorneys, a meeting of elder financial abuse experts recently convened in Miami to discuss ways to combat a surge in financial fraud of the elderly. The group included a federal consumer activist, a professor of elder law, and representatives from the State Attorney’s Office, the AARP and other organizations. They said that Florida ranks first in the country for reports of financial fraud of the elderly and that number is expected to surge in the coming years as more and more Floridians retire.
The PBS news program Frontline, working with watchdog group ProPublica, recently broadcast a documentary on the explosive growth of assisted living facilities in the U.S. The program cited an almost total lack of oversight for these facilities and an alarming rise of deaths and injuries of residents living in them. This came as no surprise to Orlando nursing home abuse attorneys. Mr. Cunningham helps injured residents suffering from abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities on a regular basis and helps them and their families by aggressively litigating against negligent operators.
In a move supported by James O. Cunningham and other Orlando elder abuse attorneys, a Senate committee recently vowed to close unlicensed assisted living facilities (ALFs) in Florida. The committee responded to a recent article in the Miami Herald that revealed many unlicensed ALF operators have been using loopholes in state laws to escape routine inspections by state agencies. The article found many facilities that claimed to be rooming houses, shelters or “sober homes” but were, for all intents and purposes, ALFs with deplorable conditions for residents. One operator had a criminal history which would have prevented them from owning or operating a licensed ALF.
Orlando elder abuse attorneys have been following a recent case of suspected abuse closely after hearing about the severity of the victim’s injuries. The Clermont Police Department and the Florida Department of Children and Families are investigating a local rehabilitation center on suspicion of elder abuse after an elderly man was taken to the hospital with third-degree skin ulcers on his buttocks. According to the police report, the man was taken to South Lake Hospital, where staffers alerted police and the state agency after treating the man’s ulcers. Given the advanced stage of the ulcers, staff members suspected neglect, prompting the investigation.