New Law Provides Additional Scrutiny for Nursing Home Deaths
Older people are not typically treated as well as younger people. This is apparent in Florida’s nursing homes. When a patient dies, not much is done because the person was older, had physical and/or mental issues and was “going to die soon anyway.” No investigation is done to determine why the person died, even if the death was unexpected or deemed suspicious. It is just assumed that they died from natural causes.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is often covered up or ignored in the United States. Many nursing homes provide substandard care and neglect patients due to turnover, poor training and stressed-out staff members.
That’s all about to change in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill—Senate Bill 400—that would create elder abuse fatality review teams in Florida. These teams would review cases in situations where abuse or neglect caused the death of an elderly person.
This law has been a long time coming. The state has had authorized teams to review child deaths and domestic violence deaths for many years. When an elderly person dies under suspicious circumstances, though, there is no comparable review in place.
Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville is happy there is now a review in place for seniors. She has sponsored the bill for four years and believes it will help reduce the amount of elder abuse in the state’s nursing homes. The reviews will help identify gaps in service and help initiate policy changes that will provide better protections for nursing home residents.
An investigation by USA TODAY Network – Florida uncovered 54 nursing home deaths between 2013 through 2017. These deaths were caused by neglect and mistreatment. However, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration rarely investigated these deaths. In many cases, they took no action at all. The agency allows nursing homes that are performing poorly to continue operations. These nursing homes are allowed to provide substandard care, neglect and kill patients and face no consequences.
Senate Bill 400 would create elder abuse fatality review teams through the Department of Elder Affairs. They would be established by state attorneys and would be made up of volunteers, such as police officers, judges, prosecutors, elder law attorneys, nurses and other health care professionals. The Department of Elder Affairs will now submit an annual report that contains the details of each case investigated by the fatality review teams. The teams will only review closed cases from the State Attorney’s Office.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Nursing Home Case
Nursing home patients have rights, just like everyone else. This law will hopefully bring about justice to the loved ones of those who have died from abuse and neglect in nursing homes.
The Tampa nursing home abuse lawyers at Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group can help you take action against the staff and nursing homes liable for your loved one’s death. We can assist you in obtaining financial damages and hopefully stop the abuse and neglect from continuing. Get started with a free consultation. Fill out the online form or call (813) 803-6518.