Assisted care patients in South Florida at risk for neglect and abuse

Aside from infants and children, perhaps no segment of our population is more vulnerable than the 35 percent of senior citizens who are nursing home bound and dependent on daily assisted care to walk, maintain basic hygiene, eat and maintain basic quality of life.

Accordingly, fewer things are more devastating than finding out a loved one placed in a privately- or publicly-owned South Florida nursing home has fallen victim to neglect or abuse. Such was the case for the family of one 77-year-old Florida mother and wife who was raped while in residence at a Jacksonville facility in 2002, the Florida Times-Union recently reported.

With 17.2 percent of Florida’s 18.5 million residents aged 65 or older, stories such as hers resonate across our many retirement communities. If you are concerned about the conditions of a South Florida nursing home, talking with a nursing home neglect attorney at the Hollander Law Firm can help you better understand your rights.

A court battle between the family and the Georgia businessman who owned the facility – along with five others in the state for a total of 15 privately-owned and operated facilities in the Southeast – ended with a $750,000 verdict for the family. Money they have yet to collect as the facility owner and his legal team continue to work the system to evade payment, the Times-Union reports.

There are about 17,000 nursing facilities in the U.S. providing 1.8 million beds to long- and short-term care residents. More than half are part of a chain and more than two-thirds are “for profit” operations. Regardless of ownership, the majority of nursing homes in the U.S. are primarily funded by Medicare and Medicaid.

So while many residents or their families turn to privately-owned or state-run nursing facilities to provide affordable and quality care for their loved one on a fixed income, more than half of nursing home owners, as in the Glenwood case, often have deep pockets and the veneer of corporate ownership to hide behind in the event of legal action.