In the largest crackdown in the last decade, Florida state agents shut down over three dozen nursing home and assisted living facilities. State regulators found some of the worst conditions ever reported, including a Vero Beach assisted-living facility where a 300-pound caretaker ripped an 89-year old frail woman from a wheelchair and threw her on a bed, which shattered her hip and a Miami facility where a caregiver refused to call police after a mentally ill resident said she was raped by another resident in her room. Both of the facilities were shut down. Also discovered was a man in a Port Charlotte facility who had been left in bed for two weeks, to the point where “his body was ravaged by bedsores so deep and infected he died from the wounds.”
The crackdown came after a Miami Herald investigation uncovered the state’s refusal to shut down bad homes. “State inspectors have been sweeping across Florida to investigate a wave of complaints, including caretakers starving residents, failing to give them crucial drugs and in one case, beating them.” Since the state’s investigation began five months ago, the state has stripped the licenses of over thirty homes, more than double the rate than before the crackdown. In almost every case in which a license was pulled, inspectors found major violations, which often included leaving frail elders in danger.
Since the state began investigating the homes, inspectors have found that caregivers violating safety laws, stealing from mentally ill residents, altering medical records, failing to give residents necessary medication and working in homes “so filthy and decrepit they were unsafe.” In one instance, investigators found a frail woman roaming the facility’s halls soaked in urine. However, the revocation of the licenses could take months and some wonder whether the cases will be settled. “In five homes now being targeted, state agencies had filed notices to strip the homes’ licenses in prior years, but backed off, letting them keep their doors open.” In 2008 and 2009, inspectors found enough violations to close seventy facilities, yet only closed seven. Families of the victims are pushing for bad owners to be criminally charged, but as of right now no such law exists.
Finding more filth, abuse, state moves to shut ALFs, www.miamiherald.com October 30, 2011.
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