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First Of Its Kind Nursing Home Abuse Study Released

July 8, 2015 | Category: Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse | Share

The first study of its kind was released in November 2014 by the Gerontological Society of America in Washington D.C. This study provides insight into the lives of close to 1.4 million nursing home residents in the United States.  

When you transition family members into a nursing, or assisted living, home, you expect them to be treated compassionately and respectfully. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reports there are 688 nursing home facilities in Florida, 93 of which are located in Southwest Florida. In addition, there are 3,042 assisted living facilities. The majority of Southwest Florida's nursing homes meet the state's standards; however, seven are on the watch list. reports that 85 percent of nursing homes reported at least one incidence of abuse or neglect in 2012.

When one thinks of nursing home abuse, one thinks of such things as neglect, false imprisonment and financial abuse by the nursing home staff and/or the administration. What has not been known until the Gerontological Society study, was that nursing home residents are abused by other nursing home residents. 

Nursing Home Abuse Study Released - Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.Lead author of the study, Karl Pillemer, a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University said that these invasive, disruptive or hostile incidents, from something so mild as rummaging through a fellow resident's belongings to outright physical or sexual assault, are so common at long-term care facilities that "staff members seem almost unaware" that it is a problem.

According to Mr. Pillemer, the Cornell team looked at the cases of 2,011 individuals at 10 nursing homes, using a variety of methods to learn the extent of the mistreatment. They conducted interviews with residents and families and compared them to reports by nursing staffs and inspectors. The result was "the most detailed portrait of this phenomenon ever developed," Mr. Pillemer said.

Persons 18 years of age or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or provide for their own care or protection are vulnerable. They may be impaired due to a mental, emotional, sensory, long-term physical or developmental disability or dysfunction, or brain damage, or the infirmities of aging, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

What laws are in place to protect nursing home residents?

In general, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are held to a high standard of care. The federal Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) of 1987 requires that all nursing homes who receive Medicare or Medicaid funds maintain facilities that are safe for their residents. In addition, federal regulations also require that all nursing home residents, whether they receive Medicaid or not, have a right to be free from verbal, mental, physical, and sexual abuse.  

Under Florida law, nursing home patients are entitled to a basic set of rights when living in a nursing home. Florida nursing home laws require that a nursing home provide patients with a “safe, clean, comfortable, and homelike environment.” Nursing home residents have the right to nutritious meals, daily exercise, social activities, compassion, access to emergency health care, access to medication, mental counseling, if needed, and the right to peaceful living free of any form of abuse.  

Florida Law requires that any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a vulnerable adult has been or is being abused, neglected, or exploited shall immediately report such knowledge or suspicion to the Florida Abuse Hotline on the toll-free telephone number, 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).

Florida Statute 492.296 places time restraints on when a Florida nursing home abuse victim or family member can report the incident. This statute states that the report must take place within two years of the incident. If the incident was not immediately discovered, the report must take place within two years of discovery of the incident.

"If your loved one has been injured because of nursing home, or assisted living facility, negligence and/or abuse or abuse from another nursing home resident, you will need a leading nursing home abuse attorney by your side. By state and federal laws, victims of nursing home abuse and/or their loved ones can file for damages for pain and suffering, medical negligence, financial exploitation, wrongful death, and more," said Fort Myers Nursing Home Abuse Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.


Fort Myers Nursing Home Abuse Attorney,  Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.


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