In the current times we find ourselves living in, we all know that nursing home residents are a vulnerable population during disasters. However, what we did not know, until recently, is that nursing home residents are at a higher risk of death after disasters, like hurricanes, which are a yearly event for Floridians. This new research shows that these deaths far exceed what we think we know, and it also shows that nursing home neglect is causing far more deaths that we thought.
An example of what we think we know
After Hurricane Irma devastated our state in 2017, we thought our state only lost 14 nursing home residents. We lost them in Broward County after a facility lost power and air conditioning. There was understandable outrage, but as we are now learning, the death toll after the storm was much worse.
The study that shows we are undercounting deaths
According to a study done by the University of South Florida and Brown University, almost 700 additional nursing home residents died after 2017’s Hurricane Irma. In just the first 30 days after Irma, 262 deaths occurred, and at 90 days, an additional 433 deaths. These results are consistent with previous studies that have shown that nursing home residents are a more vulnerable population after disasters, like hurricanes. The study analyzed 62,000 residents in over 600 Florida nursing homes.
There can be no question that nursing home residents are a vulnerable population. The results of this study show that nursing home facilities must proactively take steps to protect their residents. When they do not, however, those residents and their families have recourse because the law protects seniors from nursing home abuse and neglect.
Through a lawsuit, those injured, and their families, if they died, can seek justice and compensation for their damages, including pain and suffering. Though, the first step to getting justice is often calling a North Miami Beach attorney.