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The Florida Senate

2018 Florida Statutes

Protection of clients from abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and exploitation.
F.S. 400.9978
400.9978 Protection of clients from abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and exploitation.The licensee shall develop and implement policies and procedures for the screening and training of employees; the protection of clients; and the prevention, identification, investigation, and reporting of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and exploitation. The licensee shall identify clients whose personal histories render them at risk for abusing other clients, develop intervention strategies to prevent occurrences of abuse, monitor clients for changes that would trigger abusive behavior, and reassess the interventions on a regular basis. A licensee shall:
(1) Screen each potential employee for a history of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or exploitation of clients. The screening shall include an attempt to obtain information from previous and current employers and verification of screening information by the appropriate licensing boards.
(2) Train employees through orientation and ongoing sessions regarding issues related to abuse prohibition practices, including identification of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and exploitation; appropriate interventions to address aggressive or catastrophic reactions of clients; the process for reporting allegations without fear of reprisal; and recognition of signs of frustration and stress that may lead to abuse.
(3) Provide clients, families, and staff with information regarding how and to whom they may report concerns, incidents, and grievances without fear of retribution and provide feedback regarding the concerns that are expressed. A licensee shall identify, correct, and intervene in situations in which abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or exploitation is likely to occur, including:
(a) Evaluating the physical environment of the facility to identify characteristics that may make abuse or neglect more likely to occur, such as secluded areas.
(b) Providing sufficient staff on each shift to meet the needs of the clients and ensuring that the assigned staff have knowledge of each client’s care needs.
(c) Identifying inappropriate staff behaviors, such as using derogatory language, rough handling of clients, ignoring clients while giving care, and directing clients who need toileting assistance to urinate or defecate in their beds.
(d) Assessing, monitoring, and planning care for clients with needs and behaviors that might lead to conflict or neglect, such as a history of aggressive behaviors including entering other clients’ rooms without permission, exhibiting self-injurious behaviors or communication disorders, requiring intensive nursing care, or being totally dependent on staff.
(4) Identify events, such as suspicious bruising of clients, occurrences, patterns, and trends that may constitute abuse and determine the direction of the investigation.
(5) Investigate alleged violations and different types of incidents, identify the staff member responsible for initial reporting, and report results to the proper authorities. The licensee shall analyze the incidents to determine whether policies and procedures need to be changed to prevent further incidents and take necessary corrective actions.
(6) Protect clients from harm during an investigation.
(7) Report alleged violations and substantiated incidents, as required under chapters 39 and 415, to the licensing authorities and all other agencies, as required, and report any knowledge of actions by a court of law that would indicate an employee is unfit for service.
History.s. 1, ch. 2015-25.