The attorneys here at Edwards & Ragatz, P.A. have a special love for residents in nursing homes. We see time and time again how those residents are institutionalized and forgotten, subject to all types of neglect. Imagine our shock and dismay to read how many children are actually committed to nursing homes here in Florida. Currently, nearly 200 children remain in nursing homes.
It was a pleasant surprise to learn the federal goverment is taking notice and doing something about it. This past Monday, the federal government sued the state of Florida, alleging that hundreds of disabled children are unnecessarily living in nursing homes in the state. The lawsuit filed charges the state with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by acting “with deliberate indifference to the injuries suffered by the institutionalized and at-risk children.
œFlorida must ensure that children with significant medical needs are not isolated in nursing facilities, away from their families and communities, said Eve Hill, deputy assistant attorney general for the department’s Civil Rights Division. œChildren have a right to grow up with their families, among their friends and in their own communities. Ms. Hill said this was œthe promise as articulated by the Supreme Court, noting that the violations the department has identified are œserious, systemic and ongoing and require comprehensive relief for these children and their families. Officials at the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration declined to discuss the lawsuit, saying it had not been formally served.
In one instance, the department said the state cut one child’s in-home health care in half. Her family could not safely provide care themselves to make up for this reduction in services, and they felt they had no choice but to place her in a nursing home. The department said another child who entered a nursing facility as a young child spent almost six years in a facility before the state completed her federally mandated screening.
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The state was named a defendant in a similar lawsuit filed in 2012 by Florida lawyers on behalf of several clients. One of those clients is a girl, then 16, living at Kidz Korner, a wing in the Plantation Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Suffering from brain damage after being severely shaken as a baby, the girl identified only as TH does not walk or talk and needs a breathing tube for part of the day. TH is still there at the subject nursing facility. What a tragedy.
We hope this lawsuit serves as a wake-up call to other states and the whole œnursing home industry.” This cannot go on. Our children deserve more.