Many people seeking to become owners or managers of Assisted Living Facilities are unaware of their duties to residents, who are afforded certain statutory rights.
In accordance with Section 429.28 of the Florida Statutes, every resident of an assisted living facility has certain rights, which the administrator of the facility must provide to them, in writing. They should also be posted in a prominent place in the facility (or explained to those who cannot read). Among other things, the notice must include the statewide toll-free telephone number and e-mail address of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and the telephone number of the Elder Abuse Hotline operated by the Department of Children and Families, and, if applicable, Disability Rights Florida, where complaints may be filed.
The rights or residents include, among others:
(a) Living in a safe and decent living environment, free from abuse and neglect.
(b) Being treated with consideration and respect and with due recognition of personal dignity, individuality, and the need for privacy.
(c) Retaining and using his or her own clothes and other personal property in his or her immediate living quarters, so as to maintain individuality and personal dignity.
(d) Having unrestricted private communication, including receiving and sending unopened correspondence, access to a telephone, and visiting with any person of his or her choice, at any time between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at a minimum.
(e) Freedom to participate in and benefit from community services and activities and to pursue the highest possible level of independence, autonomy, and interaction within the community.
(f) Managing his or her financial affairs unless the resident or, if applicable, the resident’s representative, designee, surrogate, guardian, or attorney in fact authorizes the administrator of the facility to provide safekeeping for funds.
(g) Sharing a room with his or her spouse if both are residents of the facility.
(h) Having a reasonable opportunity for regular exercise several times a week and to be outdoors at regular and frequent intervals except when prevented by inclement weather.
(i) Exercising civil and religious liberties, including the right to independent personal decisions. No religious beliefs or practices, nor any attendance at religious services, shall be imposed upon any resident; and
(j) Having access to adequate and appropriate health care.
AHCA will conduct a survey to determine general compliance with facility standards and compliance with residents’ rights as a prerequisite to initial licensure or licensure renewal, Further, in order to determine whether the facility is adequately protecting residents’ rights, a biennial survey will include private informal conversations with a sample of residents and consultation with the ombudsman council in the district in which the facility is located to discuss residents’ experiences within the facility.
Any person who submits or reports a complaint concerning a suspected violation of these provisions or concerning services and conditions in facilities, or who testifies in any administrative or judicial proceeding arising from such a complaint, will have immunity from any civil or criminal liability therefor, unless such person has acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose or the court finds that there was a complete absence of a justiciable issue of either law or fact raised by the losing party.
Accordingly, for those seeking licensure to operate an ALF or for those managing these facilities, they must be aware of the rights of residents. We can help you through the licensing requirement as well as advise on other statutory requirements for operating ALF's, including those set forth in this article
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