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Why is there so much nursing home neglect in Florida? Why do so many nursing home patients fall, suffering broken bones and unnecessary surgery that lead to an early death? Why do so many parents and grandparents in nursing homes get horrible bedsores that become infected and lead to deadly blood poisoning? Why do so many nursing home patients look like their hair hasn’t been combed in months or their clothes changed in days? Why do so many nursing homes smell like they haven’t been cleaned?
Properly taking care of nursing home patients takes time and an adequate number of nurses, nurse assistants, aides and dietary personnel. Our Florida legislators know this because some years ago, they instituted safe staffing requirements to ensure patients in nursing homes received at least 2.9 hours of care per day. But last year, the Florida Legislature suspended enforcement of these safe staffing laws, apparently with a wink and a nod to the wealthy nursing home industry and its powerful lobbyists.
Recently, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) surveyed health care workers and found that 80% reported that a nursing home resident’s health or safety had been put in immediate jeopardy as a result of staffing shortages. Because of short-staffing of nursing homes, their employees find it impossible to deliver proper care to nursing home patients, causing needless suffering.