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After 8 Nursing Home Deaths, Florida Issues Emergency Rules to Protect Elderly
17 September 2017, 02:54 | Kelvin Horton
Massive recovery efforts are underway for residents stranded in the Florida Keys. CBS News
Investigators said they believe the six deaths were heat-related in the wake of Hurricane Irma. "Our staff continually checked on our residents' well-being-our most important concern-to ensure they were hydrated and as comfortable as possible".
Three of the deaths happened at the facility and the others died later at the hospital.
The nursing home eventually evacuated all of its patients Wednesday morning at the order of the responding crews.
"Most of the patients have been treated for respiratory distress, dehydration, & heat- related issues", doctors said during a news conference.
"I've definitely seen mass casualties and things to that extent, but this is something unique, something extremely sad and unfortunate for these patients and their families", Katz said. All other Keys residents can return home Sunday morning at sunrise, he said.
Johnson added that if Hibbard had been at home, she would've called 911 but since this was a nursing home she said she didn't want to "overstep" and stayed out of their way.
Irma hit the United States about two weeks after Hurricane Harvey plowed into Houston, killing about 60 and causing some $180 billion in damage, mostly from flooding.
Police opened a criminal investigation at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, north of Miami, where three elderly residents were found dead at the facility and three later died at a nearby hospital, officials said.
Governor Rick Scott is working with others to help keep Floridians safe in health care facilities after the tragic deaths of eight people in a rehabilitation center.
Florida seniors were ushered out of stifling assisted-living centers Thursday while caregivers fought a lack of air conditioning with Popsicles and cool compresses after eight people died at a nursing home in the post-hurricane heat. As of Wednesday, almost 60 percent of customers had electricity restored, according to Florida Power & Light.
The nursing home has had brushes with the regulators in recent years for violating federal rules on its power system, a generator and because of a faulty alarm, according to records.
Nursing homes in Florida are required by law to file an emergency plan that includes evacuation plans for residents.
FPL spokesman Peter Robbins released a statement Friday as well, that read in part, "What we know now is that a portion of the facility did, in fact, have power, that there was a hospital with power across the parking lot from this facility and that the nursing home was required to have a permanently installed, operational generator".
Family members of the patients can call (954) 265-1074 to check on the status of their loved ones.
"There's nothing we can do, ' said a 'frustrated" Long.
An individual handling air conditioning for the facility told WPLG that a fuse was damaged during Hurricane Irma, resulting in cooling issues for the past few days.
As a precaution, police are also visiting 42 other facilities in the city to make sure patients are okay.
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Officials are holding daily calls with those facilities to make sure they have everything they need to care for their residents. Most of the remaining outages were in Florida Power & Light's service area in the southern and eastern parts of the state.
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The storm has presented risks and challenges for the elderly population in Florida , where about 1 in 5 residents are 65 or older. Rescue crews began going door to door in 34 Cto check on people, and a water, ice and meal distribution plan was put into effect.