Florida nursing home deaths put focus on disaster planning

September 22, 2017

After more than 215 people died in hospitals and nursing homes following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, policy makers created new rules regarding power supplies and temperature control, according to an article on The New York Times website.

The new federal rule will require that nursing homes have “alternate sources of energy to maintain temperatures to protect resident health and safety.” But the rule will not be enforced until November, and some patient advocates are concerned that it does not go far enough.

The rule does not specifically require backup generators for air-conditioning systems — the nursing home in Florida where 10 people died did not have such a generator — and now some are questioning whether the rule should.

A criminal investigation into the deaths of the residents, who ranged in age from 71 to 99, in a nursing home lacking air-conditioning because of widespread power failures from Hurricane Irma in underway. The center had asked the power company, Florida Power & Light, to restore electricity, but nursing homes were not considered as high a priority for restoration as other facilities like hospitals.

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