Golden Glades Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a Miami Gardens nursing home, will close its 60-bed children's unit after years of harsh criticism. The facility stands at the center of a bitter dispute over Florida's system of care for extremely sick and disabled children. In recent years, it has been linked to the deaths of two young, severely disabled children in as many years, and a $300,000 federal fine as a result of one of those deaths.
Last year Golden Glades Nursing & Rehabilitation Center housed thirty children, although it currently only houses nineteen children. The nursing home is one of six licensed in Florida to care for children. Since June, it has sought to streamline the transfer of children back into their private homes. The facility donated a special bed with protective netting to one family, to protect their son from falling out of bed or injuring himself, as he suffers from frequent spasms and movements. It is also raising private funds to build a wheelchair ramp. Social workers and administrators at the facility have been collaborating with Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA) to give parents and other caregivers who had children at the facility transfer options as the facility prepares to close its doors. Parents of fifteen of the children currently living at the facility have chosen to transfer their children to other residential pediatric care facilities.
The U.S. Department of Justice has accused the state of cutting funds too deeply that go to in-home care for frail children. Parent are often left with "no choice but to institutionalize their loved ones." Gwen Wurm, the head of the medical foster care program for Jackson Health Systems denounced the Golden Glades Nursing and Rehabilitation Center's approach since it has decided to close the facility. She stated that "[t]hey should have . . . met with every parent and every family to come up with an array of services that made it possible to allow more of those children to be in a home." Dr. Durell Peaden Jr. agreed and further stated that Florida needs to "redesign" its system of care for these children.
Under fire, Miami-Dade nursing home closing its pediatric unit, www.miamiherald.com January 31, 2013
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