Nursing Home FAQs

How is nursing home neglect defined?

Neglect, according to The Florida Adult Protective Services Act, is “the failure or omission on the part of the caregiver... to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the vulnerable adult, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, and medical services…” Signs of neglect include pressure sores, unexplained bruises, sudden changes in behavior, malnutrition, dehydration, unexplained injuries, repeated illnesses or diseases, poor hygiene, and depression.

What are the types of nursing home abuse?

There are basically two types: neglect and abuse. Neglect means the nursing staff failed to care for a resident. This could be a result from failures including: the failure to administer medications as ordered; the failure to respond to a change in physical or mental conditions; failing to properly assess a resident’s risk of falling; failing to provide adequate nutrition and hydration; failing to recognize the signs of an infection; and failing to prevent bed sores from developing.

Abuse can be financial, physical, sexual or physical. Examples include battery, belittling, sexual assault, verbal abuse and stealing. Unfortunately, there are also cases involving preventable abuse committed by one resident of a nursing home against another.

What happens when a nursing home resident complains of neglect or abuse?

Unfortunately, many residents are unable to effectively voice their concerns so many issues of neglect and abuse go unreported. When a resident does complain, the state’s response will depend on the severity of the complaint. Usually, the nursing home administrator is notified. When this happens, the administrator is required to investigate the complaint and report it to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. When medical attention is necessary, the resident should be evaluated by a doctor or hospital unaffiliated with the nursing home. In these cases, contact the local authorities, as well as the State of Florida, which may conduct an investigation of the facility. You can report nursing home abuse through the Florida Abuse Hotline (800-962-2873) or the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (888- 419-3456).

I think my elderly aunt is suffering from nursing home abuse. How can I move her to a different nursing home?

Be sure you have alternative arrangements for your loved one before removing her from her current nursing home. There are other options beside another nursing home. You may also want to consider finding a home-health resource or hiring a live-in nurse. If you are looking for a quality nursing home, here are some important considerations:

  • Research all of your options. There are more than 30 nursing homes in Jacksonville. Take a look at current Nursing Home Guide to see which facilities get good reviews. You can also see which nursing homes are in bankruptcy or those that did not meet minimum standards on the website’s Watch List.
  • It is a good idea to call and visit nursing homes you are considering so you can see how sanitary, orderly and well-run they are. Take notice of the residents’ demeanor and overall condition, as well as the disposition of the medical staff. Take a look at the surroundings to make sure it is a safe well-maintained and clean environment.
  • When you narrow your search, schedule face-to-face meetings with the nursing home administrator and other key people, like the director of nursing and the dietitian. Their answers and body language will speak volumes about the quality of the nursing home.
  • Once your loved one is a nursing home resident, stay involved. Stop by regularly and participate in meetings about their care. Ask to be informed of any changes in medication or health status.
Is there any type of agency that grades nursing homes?

Yes. The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration ranks all nursing homes in Jacksonville and throughout the state. Results of their on-site inspections are available through the online Florida Nursing Home Guide released annually. Facilities are rated on many levels, including how well residents are cared for, their quality of life, and how well the facility operates administratively. Other indicators include meeting residents’ food and water needs, whether residents are treated with dignity, the use of bed restraints, and the number of residents who suffer from bed sores.

For a complete report of all nursing home rankings in Jacksonville as well as throughout the state, read the Florida Nursing Home Guide released earlier this year. Through on-site nursing home inspections, the annual study rates facilities on a number of measures, including how well residents are cared for, their quality of life, and how well the facility operates at an administrative level. Other indicators include meeting residents’ basic needs for food and water, whether residents are treated with dignity, the use of restraints, and the number of residents suffering from bed sores.