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Study shows Florida nursing home resident deaths increased 25% after Hurricane Irma


AARP today released the following statement from Florida State Director Jeff Johnson regarding a new report from The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Health Forum finding that more Florida nursing home residents likely died from heat exposure in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

“In the wake of Hurricane Irma in 2017, much attention was focused on the shocking resident deaths inside the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills," said Johnson.  "While this tragic news deserved our focus and, at the time, was the catalyst for major long-term care policy changes under Governor Rick Scott, we now know that it was just one example of a much larger crisis unfolding in Florida nursing homes."

The new study by the JAMA Health Forum shows a 25 percent increase in Florida nursing home deaths seven days after Irma made landfall and a 10 percent increase 30 days after landfall. Power outages impacted more than half of Florida’s 54,000 nursing home residents and these outages significantly contributed to the odds of hospitalization and death among nursing home residents.

In the aftermath of Irma, AARP Florida supported legislation that now requires skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities to have emergency power sources that last for at least 96 hours during storms. However, the tragic revelations in this new report underscore the continuous need for higher standards, increased transparency, and accountability across the nursing home industry. We will continue the fight for Floridians 50+ to ensure that their health and safety are a top priority.

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AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability, and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org.

AARP, JAMA, Nursing Homes, Florida, Health, Heat Exposure


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