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Need to Choose a Nursing Home? Choose Carefully

November 10, 2014 | Category: Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse | Share

A grim reminder of nursing home abuse was in the news last week. The Orlando Sentinel reported on October 30, 2014 about the nursing home abuse of a Winter Haven, Florida Alzheimer's patient. The Winter Haven police reported that when a son saw bruises on his father, he set up a hidden camera. With the hidden camera in place, the son was able to show evidence of two certified nursing home assistants abusing his 76 year old father. The chief operating officer of Palm Healthcare Management, which manages the Winter Haven facility, Jeff Bomberger, suspended the two workers in the video along with four other workers pending the "completion of the legal investigation and law enforcement issues."

At the beginning of October 2014 the Associated Press reported that, despite the history of deadly fires in nursing homes, 385 facilities in 39 states failed to meet the federal standards established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of having adequate fire sprinklers. CMS says that sprinklers in nursing homes are a "basic fire-safety tool" as residents may not be able to quickly evacuate.

In its 2013 survey of nursing homes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there are 16,100 nursing homes in America holding a total of 1.5 million residents.

The decision of moving a loved one to a nursing home is never an easy one. The standards of nursing homes, while regulated, can vary dramatically. Research tools and information will make the job of selecting the best facility for a loved one easier. However, selecting the best nursing home is only the beginning.  Family members need to be vigilant, as the Winter Haven son was, to any possible sign, or signs, of abuse. The facility chosen must treat its patients with respect and allow them to live healthy, vibrant lives.

Nursing Home Visit - Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.Consider. The National Institute on Aging recommends knowing what is important to you - nursing care, meals, safety, physical therapy, a religious connection, hospice care, or special care units for dementia patients. Do you want a place close to family and friends so they can easily visit? It is reported that choosing a facility that is convenient for those who may be visiting is very important to the recovery rate, and stability, of the residents.

To find the nursing homes in your area: The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration provides a Nursing Home Guide which ranks Florida's nursing homes with comparatives. The Guide also includes a "Watch List".  Through the Watch List, you will be able to find out important information about Florida's nursing homes including inspection reports and complaints.

What to look for in the nursing home facility: (Source: - A non-profit resource)

  • Cleanliness. Does the facility appear clean? Do you smell urine or strong deodorizers that may be covering up the smell of urine? Are resident rooms and bathrooms clean and well maintained?
  • Food. What kinds of meals are normally served? Does it look nutritious and appetizing? How are special diets handled? What kind of help is available with meals, and do they have to be eaten at the same time or in a common area? Is a menu available?
  • Arrangement. Traditionally, nursing homes have been run like a medical facility, including a centralized nursing station with set medication and mealtimes. Some nursing homes, however, are now moving to a different model, with smaller communities and communal areas. If this type is available in your area, it may provide a more homey feel. Are resident rooms personalized with photos, books, flowers? Are there windows? Do hallways feature handrails? Are hallways broad enough for wheelchairs? Are there wheelchair ramps in and out of facility?
  • Activities. What quality of life activities are available for residents? Are outside activities also arranged, health permitting? Are there social areas to talk, read, watch TV, visit with family? Is an activity schedule available?
  • Experience with your condition. If a loved one has Alzheimer’s, for example,

is there a special care unit or specialized staff and activities? How does staff handle behavioral problems like agitation or wandering? Are there therapeutic treatment options available?

These are just a few of the items to consider when choosing a nursing home. has "The Nursing Home Checklist" available on its website.  Click on Checklist; download it and take it with you when you are visiting nursing homes.

In addition to what is on the checklist, ask to see current health, fire and building departments' compliance reports to insure that everyone living at the facility is in a safe and healthy physical environment.

"The holidays are almost here, and I would like to remind relatives of loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities to be sure to take the time to visit them. While there, be sure to look for any signs of abuse on your loved one or anyone else who may be living in the facility," says 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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