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STAFFING ISSUES IN NURSING HOMES CAN HAVE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR ELDERLY

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To try to stay updated on Covid-related developments here in Florida (ie: for purely non-political reasons), I started following Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Twitter at the beginning of the Pandemic.  Just a couple days ago, a tweet from the Governor came up on my feed indicating that, since the Pandemic Florida has established 12 COVID-dedicated nursing facilities where COVID-positive long term care patients can safely recuperate.

While it is good to see efforts being made, the mere fact of needing extra dedicated facilities is a stark reminder of how vulnerable our elderly population is. The statistics bear this out as more than half of Florida’s Coronavirus deaths have been linked to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.  At Freidin Brown, we regularly handle nursing home cases and we take pride in vigorously prosecuting them to help obtain justice for our clients.   Based on recent inquiries our firm has received, it is clear to me that staffing problems have been brought to the forefront in this Pandemic as nursing homes, not just in Florida—but nation-wide, are exposed for their systemic staffing shortages.

In Florida, as in many other states, Nursing Homes and Related Care Facilities are obligated by law to adopt and follow minimum staffing requirements. This means that there must be a minimum weekly average of direct care, per resident per day from certified nursing assistants and licensed nursing staff.  Moreover, the facility must document compliance with staffing compliance.

Unfortunately, our experience is that nursing homes do not always meet these legally-mandated staffing requirements. There can be many reasons for this that can include seemingly innocent or unintentional oversights like an unexpected surge in resident population or simply poor scheduling.  But, it can also be a management-level decision intended to reduce costs and save money.  Regardless of the reason, the failure to have the requisite amount of properly trained staff can have disastrous results for the elderly residents of these facilities, who do not get the care and attention they need.  Indeed, neglected elderly residents often experience mental and physical deterioration, sickness, and sometimes death.  This deprives them of the dignity they deserve and is a violation of their rights for which the facility can and should be held accountable.

If you or someone you know has suffered in a nursing home and you believe their may be inadequate staffing, you may have legal recourse.  It is important that you contact a qualified nursing home attorney to investigate your case.  Please give us a call today to set up a free consultation to discuss your potential nursing home negligence claim.  You can reach our team of experienced attorneys at 305-371-3666.

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