TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- According to FloridaHealthFinder.gov, four out of six nursing homes in Tallahassee are on the "watch list", meaning they've had recent reports of severe treatment.
"I've seen more abuse and neglect in fifteen years than anybody needs to see in a lifetime in nursing homes, and I'm tired of it," said Brian Lee, Executive Director of Families for Better Care. He says issues like stolen property, neglect and abuse are common in nursing homes throughout the country, but often hidden from public view.
"Most of the information," said Lee, "especially from public officials that they receive is one-sided and from the nursing home industry."
Families for Better Care is a Tallahassee based organization that fights for better care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout the nation. One of the latest cases was here in Tallahassee when a facility failed to investigate after a resident's diamond ring was stolen. Another resident at the same facility was ignored after reporting physical assault, saying the, "staff roughed me up, pushed and shoved me … I was sore for months … they punched me in the ribs … pulling my clothes off, I started begging for her to stop … I could not breathe."
"Care has got to be better," said Lee. "We're going to see this influx of people who are going to come in to nursing homes, and we want to make sure those places are safe."
The group recently developed a report card grading system for state services. Georgia joins almost all the other southeastern states, receiving a "D", and Florida earned a "B".
"States with higher staffing standards or with one to begin with have safer care overall," Lee said. "Florida has that and so that's why we saw our grade so high."
But Lee says not to be fooled by the grade, because 138 out of 680 nursing homes throughout the state of Florida are on the "watch" list. In Tallahassee, four out of six nursing homes are on that list.
Lee says that if you're concerned about nursing home care, "Don't be afraid to speak up about concerns, questions you may have, speak with the administration, call the office, get resolution to problems, call us, we'll do our best to help."
To view the watch list, visit this link: http://www.floridahealthfinder.gov/facilitylocator/ListFacilities.aspx?ssid=2BD5DD48-280B-42D0-AB52-8F65508AF82D