A Florida legislative study says that there are too many rogue assisted living facilities (ALF) in the state that are abusing and endangering elderly and disabled residents and they need to be shut down and heavily fined. The report, by the state Senate Health Regulation Committee, also calls for tougher qualifications for those who run ALF’s and to better fund oversight which is supposed to be conducted by the Agency for Health Care Administration. Florida’s ALF industry has been regularly criticized for allowing the worst run facilities to stay open. Last May, a Miami Herald investigation found that due to neglect and abuse, nearly one person a month died in a Florida ALF and the worst ones are still open for business.
The investigation also found:
- There are 2,956 ALFs operating in Florida and the state is failing to keep up with inspections.
- Sixty percent of those residents who suffer from severe dementia wander from homes, something caregivers are not equipped to handle.
- One hundred homes with mentally ill residents were found to use illegal restraints, tranquilizers, ropes and locks to keep people in check.
- A dozen deaths were included in the Herald investigation including a 74-year-old woman who died from the restraints that ripped into her skin.
- As the number of new homes grew by 550 in five years, inspections were cut 33 percent.
Florida has always been a mecca for elders and the numbers are expected to grow from 3.3 million today to 4.5 million in ten years, all at a time when government doesn’t think it is important to increase funding for inspecting these new homes. That is a formula for disaster.