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Nursing Home Deaths in South Florida Lead to New Rules

Nursing Home Deaths in South Florida Lead to New Rules

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida Sept. 10 and devastated the state. The storm caused an estimated $42.5–$65 billion in damages, and some cities were left without power for weeks. Indeed, power outages are a common result of such powerful storms (Irma was the strongest hurricane observed in the Atlantic since 2005). This is dangerous for all residents, but elderly individuals who reside in retirement centers and nursing homes are especially vulnerable. A Fatal Catastrophe in Hollywood, Florida These facilities are required to have certain equipment and supplies in the event of a power outage. These include a generator, food, water, and adequate staff support to care for all residents for up to 72 hours without electricity. Unfortunately, the minimum generators required are only strong enough to power a few systems. For the residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Florida, this fact became a worst-case scenario. Hurricane Irma caused a power outage at this facility, which then lacked sufficient energy to run the air conditioning throughout the building. This led to the deaths of eight residents due to lethally high temperatures. In response to this disaster, Governor Rick Scott announced a series of new rules Sept. 16, 2017, requiring that Florida nursing homes and assisted living communities have generators that can maintain comfortable temperatures for residents for at least 96 hours if the power goes out. Florida’s New Power Laws There are also proposed federal laws in direct response to the fatal events in Hollywood. Here’s an overview of requirements in the new emergency plan proposed by the Agency for Health Care Administration: Facilities must have the...

Nursing Home Abuse

Millions of elders living in nursing homes are victims of abuse every year and are not even aware of it. Elder abuse in nursing homes can be difficult to detect and it is not uncommon for cases to go unreported. Though many elderly residents in nursing homes are treated well and cared for in the manner in which they should be, abuse still continues and is much more prevalent that people wish to believe. Nursing home abuse is something that should definitely be of concern; seniors who have been abused have a 300% greater chance of death in the 3 years following the abuse than those who are not abused. Statistics show that nearly 1 in 6 nursing home residents are the victims of abuse or neglect every year, and although legislatures in all 50 states have passed anti-elder-abuse laws, nursing home abuse continues to occur. Nursing home abuse can include any of the following: Physical abuse – may be intentional such as hitting or pinching, or it may be due to neglect including overuse of restraints and lack of physical care Psychological abuse – this may be harder to identify, but it includes yelling, criticizing, humiliating or shaming of the patient. Sexual abuse – any unwanted sexual attention or exploitation Financial exploitation – may include taking advantage of access to patient’s financial matters, stealing, or otherwise compromising a patient’s financial status. Neglect – often times may be unintentional and a result of inadequate staffing, but nevertheless it is considered to be abusive. Instances of neglect may include, personal hygiene care not being met, not provided with food, clothing,...