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Assisted Living: Your Rights & Your Daytona Beach Attorneys

Fri, Mar 09, 2012 at 3:25PM

There was a story in the news recently about a 97-year-old woman who, in spite of a number of common age-related ailments, enjoyed smoking cigarettes.

She smoked inside her one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility where she's lived since 2005, until she was suddenly threatened with eviction if she didn't stop. Smoking wasn't an issue when she moved in, but three years later the facility implemented a smoke-free policy.

Although many issues came to light during the eviction case, including the fact that she was the only resident (out of almost 200) who smoked and that she had tried but abandoned alternatives to smoking, the facility contended it was ultimately responsible for the safety and well-being of all its residents and staff. Nevertheless, she continued to smoke about ten cigarettes a day in the privacy of her apartment.

The issue now lies with the corporate attorneys, and no one is sure what the outcome will be. Though public opinion is divided, some would surely say, "She is 97 years old. Let her be!"

Although the issue of smoking in an assisted living facility is not exactly a resident's right or elder abuse situation, personal choices and patient care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are areas of our practice. There may come a time when you or a member of your family suffers from a serious illness or limited independence that raises difficult choices about what care is appropriate.  The quality and type of care can vary widely from one facility to another, and folks may have very different desires about what level of medical care they want. For these reasons, it is important for you to learn about how to make the best and most informed choices and to discuss these choices with your family, before a decision must be made.

Florida has a large elderly population, and many nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Sadly, not all of them provide even the minimal levels of care required by state statute, which is something your Daytona Beach lawyers know well. Fortunately, our citizens are protected by Florida laws that give residents of nursing homes certain rights. One of the best nursing home laws in the country, Chapter 400 of the Florida Statutes includes the right to be free from mental and physical abuse, the right to receive adequate and appropriate health care, and the right to privacy and dignity. Sadly, these rights are not upheld all the time, which can necessitate litigation to enforce those rights.

If a nursing home resident is abused, neglected or inadequately cared for, or if their rights are violated, the resident or their family or guardian may have a claim under Florida law, and our Daytona Beach lawyers can assist you.  We sincerely hope that never happens but we would be honored to help you if the unthinkable occurs. 

If you have any questions about nursing homes, assisted living facilities and personal care, please call and speak with one of our Daytona Beach attorneys.

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