Florida Legislature Aims to Toughen Restrictions on Assisted Living Facilities

elder abuse.jpgFlorida lawmakers reversed course this week on policy changes that will affect people across the state. Although just a few months ago, the state legislature was considering removing some of the restrictions and rules that govern Florida assisted living facilities (“ALFs”), such as nursing homes for elderly or terminally ill patients. However, due to mounting complaints about Florida nursing home abuse and neglect of patients, lawmakers have changed their plans and are now working on new regulations that would increase scrutiny of ALFs and give the state more power to control the issuance and revocation of licenses.

Our West Palm Beach elder abuse lawyer knows that the patients who live in Florida nursing homes are all different. Some are in need of minimal care, such as help with meals and medications. Others are in need of more regular medical care, and still others require almost constant care and assistance with everyday tasks. Some patients are literally dependent upon their caregivers to keep them alive. When those caregivers do not provide proper treatment, the consequences can be terrible, even deadly.

In an effort to improve the conditions in nursing homes throughout the state, the Florida legislature is examining new ways to regulate the industry. Some of the proposed changes include higher fines for violations, more stringent testing and certification requirements, and more power in the hands of state officials to close down facilities that do not conform to safety standards.

The families and friends of patients who live in any kind of assisted living facility can also help ensure that these patients are cared for properly and with the level of skill and concern that their respective conditions require. If your loved one depends on the care of one of these facilities, you should be knowledgeable about how to tell whether he or she is being treated properly. One very common sign of neglect for patients who spend most or all of their time in bed is bed sores. Bed sores occur when patients are left in the same position for hours at a time, and the skin covering certain pressure points is worn away. They are incredibly painful, but patients who develop them often cannot move enough to even alleviate some of the pain. If left long enough, they can become very serious and cause infection. Another sign is weight loss. Some patients have been malnourished to the point where they are literally starving. Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask questions or to seek out opinions from doctors outside the facilities where your loved ones live.

If someone you love has suffered from abuse or neglect at an ALF, our West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorney may be able to help get compensation for his or her injuries and to ensure that no one else has to suffer the same poor treatment. If you have observed any injuries, do not hesitate to take action. Although injuries are not always the cause of poor treatment, the best thing to do is to seek out the cause of injury right away so that it can be remedied.

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