What Are Florida’s Nursing Home Standards?

A nursing home can provide regular medical care for an aging loved one. One of the largest benefits of Florida nursing homes is that they provide a safe place where residents receive customized care based on their needs and health. Sadly, some nursing home residents can become the victim of neglect, leading loved ones to seek a nursing home attorney.

To provide guidelines for nursing home staff and protections for residents, Florida has nursing home standards. These standards outline the environment, cleanliness, and activities nursing homes must provide their residents.

We’ll outline some of the most important standards in the state. Then we’ll provide details on what to do if you’re concerned a loved one might be experiencing nursing home neglect or abuse.

Florida Nursing Homes Staffing Standards

Under Florida’s standards, each nursing home must have at least one of each of the following:

  • Physician
  • Dietician
  • Nurse 

These medical professionals must be in good standing and stay in compliance with ongoing education requirements. They also must undergo a criminal background check. These professionals are required for nursing homes to ensure residents receive adequate care.

Providing an Adequate Standard of Living

The Florida nursing home standards outline that these facilities must be a “safe, clean, comfortable, and homelike environment.” This means caring for the needs of patients concerning clean clothes, fresh linens, and safe living areas.

Additionally, all residents in nursing homes should have easy access to clean drinking water, lighting, and comfortable temperature-controlled living areas. Because many residents in nursing homes have physical ailments, these facilities must also have ramps, safety rails, and other precautions to prevent falls and accidents.

As part of the standard of living, nursing homes must ensure that residents have these basic services and amenities:

  • Balanced and nutritious meals based on medical needs and any food allergies
  • Social interactions
  • Exercise on a daily basis
  • Medication, as necessary
  • Clear channels for emergency care, when needed
  • Access to counseling services
  • An enjoyable living environment without abuse or neglect

Requirements for a Patient’s Privacy

When living in a nursing home, a patient should keep his or her privacy. Residents should be permitted to close the door to their rooms.

Staff members should knock before entering unless there is some sort of medical emergency. Other cases where knocking might not be necessary to enter a resident’s room is if the resident is incapable of responding, such as when on certain medications or suffering from certain ailments.

A resident should be permitted to safely store personal belongings while living in a nursing home. Staff members should not prohibit residents from seeing their personal effects or using them unless there are safety concerns.

Furthermore, individuals living in a nursing home should be permitted to make their own choices, if mentally able to do so. Staff members should in no way hinder a resident’s decision-making.

The state’s standards also outline the following patient privacy provisions:

  • Access to a phone
  • The ability to send and receive mail privately (without staff opening and reading it)
  • Visiting with people from outside the facility during set visiting hours
  • Overnight visitors that comply with the nursing home’s policy on such visitors, as well as doctor’s orders or requirements from Medicare and Medicaid

Choosing a Safe Florida Nursing Home

Deciding it’s time for a loved one to live in a nursing home is challenging. Giving up their home, neighborhood, and everything they know can be tough. And then there’s the fear that your loved one might be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse.

The Agency for Health Care Administration recognizes the challenges that loved ones face when choosing a safe nursing home.

That’s why they created a resource center where you can go to review inspection ratings, see a nursing home watch list, and learn more about whether a nursing home is the right place for your loved one. The resource center also provides alternatives to nursing homes and information on long-term care.

Working with a Nursing Home Attorney

If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, you should talk to an attorney immediately. Failing to report the problem could mean your loved one suffers more or that other residents also suffer abuse and neglect.

For nursing homes to be listed on the Nursing Home Watch List for others to know about the risks of sending loved ones there, you must speak up. You can seek compensation on behalf of your loved one if they’ve suffered due to the nursing home’s neglect or abuse.

Residents in nursing homes should be treated with respect, have an expectation of privacy and have their needs met according to the Florida minimum standards for nursing homes. What might seem like a minor infraction at first can grow into a larger issue or diminish the quality of life for your loved one.

Schedule a free consultation now to learn more about the attorneys at Goldman & Daszkal.