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Under Investigation, Florida Nursing Homes Decide to Close Pediatric Units

When you think of nursing homes and the elderly, good thoughts do not always come to mind. In recent news reports, it seems that Florida nursing homes have done an equally poor job caring for children. Earlier this year, one nursing home was reported to provide inadequate care, resulting in the death of two children residing there. In the face of two pending federal investigations, Florida nursing homes have decided to stop accepting children as patients and are closing their pediatric units, the Miami Herald reports.

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The State of Florida, as well as several individual nursing homes, has been named in two federal lawsuits, alleging that the State has allowed sick children to be warehoused among the elderly in nursing homes where they received inadequate care. The lawsuits claims that the State of Florida has underfunded patient care for children so much that parents have little choice but to place their children in nursing homes, often far away from the rest of their family. Florida is paying approximately $500 a day per child for nursing home care; double the rate the State pays for its seniors. Opponents of the program also point out that because they are designed with elderly patients’ needs in mind, nursing homes provide little educational, recreational and social stimulation for children.

The U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division is accusing the State of disobeying the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides that it is illegal to discriminate against special needs patients of any age. The Justice Department claims Florida is in violation because it does not provide other options, such as affordable home health care, for frail and disabled children. According to the Miami Herald report, many of these children remain in nursing home facilities for long periods of time, even though they could return to their homes if the proper amount of community support and funding were in place.

Read more about nursing home abuse of children at Jacksonville.com.

The most recent nursing homes to close their pediatric wings are doing so incrementally to minimize disruption to sick children and their families. The usual process is to stop accepting new patients, then transfer existing patients to other, more appropriate facilities. Spokespeople for nursing homes say the reason is, in part, due to the ongoing investigation and its interference in the nursing homes’ ability to care for young patients.

Jacksonville nursing homes have a duty to provide adequate care to all patients, young and old. Regardless of how you feel about housing sick children with the elderly in nursing homes, the homes currently have a duty to the children and their families to provide proper levels of care and attention; even if it is not the type of care a nursing home usually provides. In other words, they are not excused because they are inexperienced in caring for sick children. When this necessary care is not provided, the chance for serious injury or death increases.

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If you or a loved one has suffered a nursing home injury in Jacksonville, it may have been due to the negligence of the nursing home or an individual nurse at the facility. In these types of cases, you may be entitled to monetary damages to compensate you for you troubles, injuries, or loss. To find out more about your rights, contact an experienced Jacksonville injury attorney and discuss the facts of your case. Click here to contact a nearby injury attorney who can consult with you about your case.