Responsibility of a Nursing Home for the Acts of Its Employees
Placing a loved one in a nursing home requires putting a lot of trust in the administrators and nursing staff to attentively and properly provide the necessary care so residents are as comfortable and healthy as possible. Keeping track of all the employees, however, can prove to be a challenge given the fact that these facilities must be staffed 24 hours per day and have various people performing different medical-based duties at all times. However, it is imperative that nursing homes do everything possible to guard against any type of abuse by employees. Sometimes, though, the procedures in place to monitor employees fail and residents unfortunately suffer exploitation. A nursing home in Pinellas Park is facing a situation of employee misconduct after a worker used a resident’s credit and debit cards to make personal purchases. Because of the high degree of responsibility nursing homes assume for individuals that are frequently frail or suffering from mental deficits, Florida law requires mandatory screening procedures for all employees and outlines how the nursing home must handle a resident’s property and personal effects.
Any person employed or contracted by a nursing home that provides personal care directly to residents must undergo what is a called a level 2 background screening. This screening must be performed before an individual starts working for a nursing home, and every five years thereafter in order to retain their position at the facility. A level 2 background screening means the individual who wishes to work for a nursing home must submit fingerprints to law enforcement officials who then forward that information to the FBI in order to run a state and national criminal history check. This check is used to ensure the prospective employee was never convicted of certain criminal felony offenses. The list of offenses that automatically disqualify an individual from employment as a personal care provider is quite long, but some of the offenses include:
- Medicare fraud;
- domestic violence;
- criminal use of personal identification information, ; e., social security number, date of birth, etc.;
- fraudulent use of credit cards;
- fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs;
- abuse, neglect or exploitation of elderly or disabled adults; and
- sexual misconduct with patients.
Residents’ Property and Personal Items
While most people envision non-consensual physical or sexual abuse in connection with mistreatment at nursing homes, mental abuse is another equally damaging practice that many nursing home patients suffer. One method of inflicting this treatment on a resident would be to withhold access to personal property or funds to force the resident to comply with the demands of an employee. In order to reduce this possibility, Florida law has specific rules on how nursing homes must handle this property. First, no one connected with the nursing home can serve as a trustee, guardian or conservator for a resident unless that person is a spouse or a blood relative. Further, the nursing home must provide a method for securing a resident’s property, and develop a policy to minimize the risk of theft and loss, which must be communicated to employees. Any items held for safekeeping must be recorded and tracked with a statement detailing the status and location of these items due to residents, and if applicable, the resident’s guardian, trustee or conservator at least every three months. Finally, upon the resident’s death, the nursing home must transfer possession of any property it is holding to the resident’s personal representative, if appointed, or to the resident’s spouse or next adult family member listed as a beneficiary on a form provided by the nursing home to the resident.
Hire an Lawyer to Fight Nursing Home Abuse
If you fear a family member is experiencing any type of abuse at the hands of nursing home employees or representative, speaking to lawyer as soon as possible about holding the nursing home accountable is important to recovering compensation for this bad behavior. The Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado represents clients in wide variety of personal injury cases, including nursing home abuse. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.