top of page

Adult Day Care Center Abuse and Neglect

Adult day care centers play an important role in helping families care for their loved ones. When these centers do what they are designed to do, they serve as valuable lifelines, providing essential support and respite to caregivers, while ensuring the well-being of those they serve. However, when the trust placed in these centers is betrayed through abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the consequences can be devasting. At FIDJ, we understand how to navigate the complexities of adult day care center abuse and neglect cases. 

Adult Day Care Center Negligence and the Duty of Care


Adult day care centers owe their participants a duty of care. Those duties include, but are not limited to, the following:


  1. A duty to admit or retain only those participants who require services that fall within the adult day care center’s license;

  2. A duty to refrain from accepting or retaining any individual whose behavior and physical limitations are deemed hazardous to the safety of the individual or other participants;

  3. A duty to provide a protective environment for center participants;

  4. A duty to ensure that all participants are free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation, as defined in Fla. Stat. § 415.102;

  5. A duty to treat all participants with consideration, respect, and full recognition of their dignity, individuality, and right to privacy.

  6. A duty to supervise participants, particularly those with functional impairments;

  7. A duty to employ qualified staff to provide the services, personal assistance, and safety measures required by participants;

  8. A duty to have licensed personnel on staff to assist with medication administration for those residents that require the same or, if no such individual is employed by the center, a duty to refrain from admitting residents that require medication administration;

  9. A duty to train staff on all policies and procedures of the center;

  10. A duty to maintain personnel files for each employee;

  11. A duty to ensure that all staff members maintain proper hygiene;

  12. A duty to ensure that all staff members refrain from abusive, immoral, or other unacceptable conduct, including behaviors and/or language that may be injurious to participants;

  13. A duty to maintain minimum staffing requirements of one staff member who provides direct services for every six participants;

  14. A duty to maintain staffing that meets the needs of the center’s participants;

  15. A duty to ensure no less than two staff members, one of which must be present at all times, is certified by an approved first aid/CPR course;

  16. A duty to maintain appropriate policies and procedures;

  17. A duty to implement all appropriate standards considering the social, physical, and mental capabilities and needs of the participants;

  18. A duty to terminate and report all staff members whose conduct constitutes abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a participant to the Florida Department of Children and Families;

  19. A duty to refrain from hiring any individual with a reported history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an elderly individual.

  20. A duty to refrain from using chemical or physical restraints;

  21. A duty to ensure the privacy of participants’ personal and medical records;

  22. A duty to permit participants to communicate privately with persons of their choice;

  23. A duty to permit participants to engage in social, religious, community, or group activities of their choice while at the center;

  24. A duty to ensure that all participants are afforded the right to make independent personal decisions, to the extent they are mentally capable of doing so;

  25. A duty to ensure that no participant is the object of discrimination with respect to participation in activities that include recreation, meals, leisure, other social activities because of age, race, religion, sex, or nationality as defined in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990;

  26. A duty to ensure that no resident is deprived of any constitutional right solely by reason of admission to the center.


When adult day care centers breach their duty of care, vulnerable adults suffer. At FIDJ, we stand firm in our commitment to holding adult day care centers accountable for their abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation of those entrusted to their care.


Chapter 415, Florida Statutes (The Adult Protective Services Act)


In addition to filing claims of negligence against adult day care centers for their abuse and neglect of vulnerable seniors, FIDJ employs those remedies permitted by Chapter 415, Florida Statutes. Florida Statute § 415.1111 expressly states that a “vulnerable adult who has been abused, neglected, or exploited…has a cause of action against any perpetrator and may recover actual and punitive damages for such abuse, neglect, or exploitation.” Chapter 415 permits damages for “any deprivation of or infringement on the rights of a vulnerable adult, paves the way for punitive damages (damages designed to punish a perpetrator for their unlawful conduct), and permits prevailing party attorneys' fees and costs.

We Sue Adult Day Care Centers for Abuse, Neglect, and Elder Exploitation

Call (844) FIDJ-LAW to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

Learn More about Florida Adult Day Care Centers


What is a Florida Adult Day Care Center?


An adult day care center is a facility licensed by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration that provides therapeutic social and health activities/services for any part of a day to three or more adults (over the age of 18) who have functional impairments and who are not related to the owner or operator. See Fla. Stat. § 429.901(1).


What Type of Services Do Florida Adult Day Care Centers Provide?


Adult day care centers are designed to provide “basic services," which include therapeutic programs of social and health activities and services; leisure activities; self-care training; rest; nutritional services; and respite care.” See Fla. Stat. § 429.901(3). Among other things, an adult day care center must offer a planned program of varied activities and services on a daily basis designed to promote and maintain the health of participants and to encourage participants to engage in leisure activities. An adult day care center must also provide opportunities for interaction and communication among participants in order to enhance each participant’s well-being and maximize individual functioning. These activities and services must be available at least 60 percent of the time the adult day care center is open to participants and must be documented.


Can Adult Day Care Center’s Provide Additional Services Related to Individuals Suffering from Alzheimer’s/Dementia?


If an adult day care center has a “specialized Alzheimer’s services adult day care center” license (in addition to the basic Adult Day Care Center license), the adult day care center may offer a program for dementia-specific, therapeutic activities including, but not limited to, physical, cognitive, and social activities appropriate for the impaired individual's age, culture, and level of function. Before admitting an impaired individual, the center must determine whether the medical, psychological, safety, and behavioral support and intervention required by the impaired individual can be provided by the center, along with whether the center has the resources required to assist the impaired individual. Specialized adult day care centers must also:


  1. Offer these specialized services at least 70% of the time that the center is open,

  2. Have a staff ratio of 1 staff member who provides direct services for every five Alzheimer’s/dementia participants,

  3. Provide these individuals with hands-on assistance with activities of daily living, including urinary and bowel incontinence care,

  4. Use assessment tools that identify the impaired individual’s cognitive deficits and identify the specialized and individualized needs of the individual and his or her caregiver. This assessment must be conducted upon admission and when the individual experiences a significant change in condition, but no less frequently than annually,

  5. Create an individualized plan of care for each impaired individual that addresses the individual’s needs (upon admission and quarterly),

  6. Conduct a monthly health assessment of each impaired individual that includes the individual’s weight, vital signs, and level of assistance needed with activities of daily living,

  7. Complete a monthly update in each individual's file regarding his or her status or progress toward meeting the goals indicated on the individualized plan of care,

  8. Assist in the referral or coordination of other dementia-specific services and resources needed by the impaired individual, such as medical services, counseling, medical planning, legal planning, financial planning, safety and security planning, disaster planning, driving assessment, transportation coordination, or wandering prevention,

  9. Provide dementia-specific educational materials regularly to impaired individuals, as appropriate, and their caregivers,

  10. Routinely conduct and document a count of all impaired individuals present in the center throughout each day. This count must be compared to each impaired individual's attendance record to ensure that no one is missing from the center,

  11. Maintain a secured unit or have working alarm or security devices installed on every door that is accessible to impaired individuals and that provides egress from the center or areas of the center designated for the provision of specialized Alzheimer’s services,

  12. Not allow an impaired individual to administer his or her medication, and

  13. Condition the impaired individual’s eligibility for admission on whether he or she has a coordinated mode of transportation to and from the adult day care center, to ensure that the participant does not drive on his or her own.


See Fla. Stat. § 429.918(4).


Are there any Staffing Requirements Associated with Florida Adult Day Care Centers?


Yes. In addition to those staffing-related duties outlined above, all employees of an adult day care center must complete Alzheimer’s/Dementia training in accordance with the Alzheimer’s disease and Related Forms of Dementia Education and Training Act. See Fla. Stat. § 429.917. See also Fla. Stat. § 430.5025. In addition, all adult day care center employees must pass a Level 2 background screening. See Fla. Stat. § 429.919.


An adult day care center with a specialized Alzheimer’s license must also have a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) on site at least 75% of the time that the center is open to impaired individuals. If the center relies on an LPN, that LPN must be supervised by an RN. Further, any employees who provide direct care to impaired individuals must be educated on procedures to locate an individual who elopes (or wanders away from the center), the Silver Alert program, and products/programs available to identify impaired individuals or prevent them from eloping (wandering from the center). See Fla. Stat. § 429.918(6).


Are there Any Restrictions on the Types of Residents Allowed in Adult Day Care Centers?


Generally, adult day care centers must refrain from accepting or retaining any individual whose behavior and physical limitations are deemed hazardous to the safety of the individual or other participants. In addition, individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s/Dementia who demonstrate aggressive behaviors that place themselves or others at risk cannot stay at an adult day care center. The bottom line is that an adult day care center must assess whether it can meet the needs of its participants. If not, the center must not admit the individual.


How Many Adult Day Care Centers are there in Florida?


There are over 400 adult day care centers throughout Florida.


Our team of attorneys is dedicated to fighting inequity and demanding justice for those who have suffered at the hands of adult day care centers. If you suspect your loved one was injured at the hands of an adult day care center, contact the experienced attorneys at FIDJ, before it’s too late.

Five Steps if you suspect adult day care center abuse or neglect


I’m not sure if I have an adult day care center abuse or neglect case. Can I speak with an attorney at FIDJ?


Absolutely. You can and should reach out to us if you have any concerns or suspicions regarding adult day care center abuse or neglect. Our experienced attorneys are available to evaluate your situation and provide guidance on a path forward. 


I cannot afford a lawyer. Can I still hire you to sue an adult day care center?


Yes. The experienced adult day care center injury attorneys at FIDJ work on a contingency fee basis. That means, we only get paid if there is a monetary recovery associated with your case. 


I might have signed an arbitration agreement. Can I still sue the adult day care center for damages?


Yes. It’s common for care providers to include arbitration clauses in their agreements as a way to keep cases out of the public eye and limit potential damages. However, the experienced attorneys at FIDJ can carefully assess the validity and enforceability of your arbitration clause. Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to challenge and potentially invalidate the arbitration agreement, allowing your case to proceed to civil court where it can be heard before a jury. In the event an arbitration clause is enforceable, our attorneys can still represent you in the arbitration process.


How long do I have to file an adult day care center abuse or neglect lawsuit?


The Florida legislature recently changed the deadline to file negligence claims. If the act(s) giving rise to your negligence action occurred on or before March 24, 2023, then you have four (4) years to file your case. For everyone else, the deadline to file a negligence action is two (2) years. If the negligent act and/or omission caused a loved one's death, then you have two (2) years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. That said, do not delay as there may be prior injuries that you do not know about. In addition, many care providers have notoriously high staff turnover rates. Therefore, unnecessary delay can make it more difficult to locate potential witnesses. 


How long do adult day care center case's last?


Each case is unique. While some cases settle before a lawsuit is filed, other cases require a trial. As a rule of thumb, however, you can expect a jury trial within two (2) years of filing your lawsuit. The finality of cases can be extended by the appellate process. If your case is subject to a valid arbitration clause, you can generally expect a quicker resolution.


Are you going to handle my case or refer it to another law firm?


We are not an attorney referral service. If we take your case, we handle your case.

Check out our latest blogs...

bottom of page