Florida's controversial decision to care for developmentally challenged children in nursing homes is at the center of a growing hurricane of criticism. According a lawsuit filed by the federal Department of Justice, Florida has "planned, structured and administered a system of care that has led to the unnecessary separation and isolation of hundreds of children in nursing facilities."
Like all patients who require nursing home care, these children are extremely vulnerable. Nursing home neglect and abuse can have devastating consequences, potentially including death. Florida pays nursing homes $506 a day for institutional care for handicapped children. While the nursing homes claim that the children are receiving appropriate educational and development opportunities, complaints and allegations keep pouring in, describing shocking cases of neglect.
In just one of the recent cases to gain public attention, a 14-year-old cerebral palsy patient died less than 24 hours after she arrived at the facility. Despite documented reports of extreme emotional distress and seizures, the nursing home's records do not contain any indication that the staff responded with appropriate medications or attention. State agencies issued a number of citations to the facility after her death.
These allegations are in line with common nursing home problems. Many nursing homes ignore staffing shortages and potentially poor training - even though their patients require careful and comprehensive care. As Florida continues paying nursing homes to try to care for handicapped children, these stories are sure to continue. Families who believe a loved one suffered harm due to a nursing home's misconduct should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Source: Miami Herald, "A child's sad death in a Florida nursing home," Carol Marbin Miller, Nov. 10, 2012