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Spurred by Herald Report, Florida Cracks Down on 17 Assisted Living Facilities

image02-218x300In 2004, dementia sufferer Stowman Cox wandered from the Beckett Lake Lodge in Clearwater. His body was later found face-down in a lake, torn apart by alligators. (Photo Courtesy of the Miami Herald)]. An investigation by the Miami Herald into conditions at dozens of assisted living facilities has prompted a crackdown by Florida’s state regulatory agency, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

“They’re finally doing what they should have been doing,” said Dan Reiter, a state ombudsman.

Over the course of a year, Herald reporters found deplorable instances of abuse and neglect at facilities across the state, including:

And many, many more…

“It was almost subhuman,” said Albert “Doc” King, a former resident of Shalom Manor Retirement Home in Lauderhill. King claims that residents were often mistreated, and that medicine frequently disappeared.

In Florida, assisted living facilities (ALFs) commonly admit both the elderly and the mentally ill. The Herald attributes the AHCA’s widespread lack of oversight, in part, to growing numbers of both populations. It also attributes the failure in oversight to low standards required for potential ALF operators.

“To open a home for people with mental illness, administrators need only a high school diploma and four days of training – far less than other major states,” the Herald says.

A third reason could be the scores of new ALFs opening across the state. According to the Herald, more than 550 new homes opened in the past five years, bringing the total number of ALFs to 2,850 in Florida.

After reading the Herald investigation, I find it truly shocking that Florida hasn’t yet overhauled its requirements for ALF operators. Clearly, the lack of knowledge about elder care – combined with purely greedy intentions – has put thousands of residents in grave danger. Despite having some of the toughest elder abuse laws in the country, Florida still has a long way to go before all its residents are safely cared for.

Learn more about the laws applicable to Florida nursing homes here.
Click on the links for information on nursing homes in Miami, Orlando and Tampa

Please Note:

Facilities mentioned in the Herald report include:

All America in Hialeah

Arlington House in Palatka

Angelica Gardens in Miami

Beckett Lake Lodge in Clearwater

Briarwood Manor in Lauderhill

Clare Bridge of West Melbourne

Emeritus at Crossing Pointe in Orlando

Edwinola Retirement Community in Dade City

Escondido Palms in Tampa

Hampton Court in Lauderhill

Hillandale in New Port Richey

Isabel Adult Care III in Miami

Living Legends Retirement Center in Deerfield Beach

Munne Center in Miami

Nueva Vida in Miami

Pleasant Manor in Plant City

Shalom Manor in Lauderhill

Southern Oaks Retirement Center in Wauchula

Sunshine Acres Loving Care in Caryville

Related:

Neglected to Death: Part I Miami Herald, May 2011

Neglected to Death: Part II Miami Herald, May 2011

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