Florida Finally Moves to Crack Down on Elder Abuse in Florida Nursing Homes

Stephen M. Garcia
Attorney at Law
Garcia, Artigliere & Medby

A recent article in the Miami Herald details how little the State of Florida has done to protect Florida assisted living residents from elder abuse.

The article details numerous actual cases. It talks about the Vero Beach assisted living facility in which a 300-pound caregiver is accused of grabbing an emaciated and frail, 89-year-old woman from her wheelchair and shaking her so hard the caregiver shattered the woman’s hip.

Another story reported by the Herald takes place in a Miami assisted living facility where a caregiver refused to call the police when a 59-year-old woman with a mental illness said she was raped by another resident.

Then it tells of the man in a Port Charlotte assisted living facility who died from the numerous deep and infected bedsores he acquired by being neglected in the assisted living facility.

Finally, prompted by a Miami Herald series demonstrating how the state was not closing Florida assisted living facilities for elder abuse, Florida is finally doing something about the ongoing elder abuse in Florida assisted living facilities.

As a long-time elder abuse attorney, I have worked with hundreds of families of elder abuse victims. I have seen all of these examples of assisted living facility elder abuse, and, I’m sorry to say, worse.

Elder abuse in Florida assisted living facilities is the result of Florida assisted living facilities putting profits over people. Most often they do this by understaffing the assisted living facility, providing little if any training to staff, and doing the minimum if any background checks on staff who are hired.
All of these elements combine to ensure that Florida assisted living residents receive, at best, inadequate care, and at worse, are victims of elder abuse.

The State is complicit in allowing elder abuse in Florida assisted living facilities through inadequate oversight and inspections. When they do encounter egregious elder abuse, the State does not use its power to suspend or close a facility.

The Herald quotes Don Hering, deputy secretary of the Florida Department of Elderly Affairs as saying, “We spent years begging AHCA to close it [the Munne Center in Miami-Dade], and what did they do? Nothing.”

Because of the lack of oversight and inadequate punishment for elder abuse assisted living facilities experience, I learned that the best way to make assisted living facilities take notice is through the courts.

As a leading nation-wide and Florida elder abuse attorney I have been successful in bringing elder abuse class actions against assisted living facilities that, I believe, effected change.

In the settlement with the assisted living facility, I insisted that an inspector, appointed by me, would be paid by the assisted living facility to inspect it on a quarterly basis. If any serious deficiencies were found, the assisted living facility would be brought back to court.

If your loved one is a victim of elder abuse in a Florida assisted living facility, contact me, an experienced Florida elder abuse attorney at Garcia, Artigliere & Medby for a free, no-obligation consultation.