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Nursing Home Inspection Reports Leave Gaps

Orlando Sentinel

Photo Source: Orlando Sentinel


By Kate Santich

If you want to check on conditions at a Florida nursing home where your elderly loved one is living, you might be surprised at what you don’t find in state inspection reports that are legally required to be open to the public.

Like dates. Or places. Or pivotal words.

“On Sunday morning,” one such report reads, “——— at 6:30 a.m., she stated she entered the resident’s ———, found the resident in the bathtub, with the water running, slumped over and ———-.”

The leader of a national watchdog group, Brian Lee of Families For Better Care, calls the heavily censored reports — which cover inspections of nursing homes and assisted living facilities — “shocking.” He first noticed a difference in the amount of information withheld late last year.

“The state is stripping these reports of critical information that the public would use to make sense of what is happening,” Lee said.

Others are concerned that the problem is part of a pattern of state officials holding back information on long-term care facilities.

“I’ve been looking at these reports for 20 years, and I know what they used to look like and what they look like now,” said Nathan Carter, an Orlando personal injury attorney whose clients have included nursing home residents and their families. “It has become arbitrary and inconsistent what they redact — but I think it’s all part of a bigger purpose to confuse people and make the reports useless.”

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