SWFL nursing homes still not meeting safety guidelines

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Solaris Healthcare facility on Kings Highway in Punta Gorda.

Some Southwest Florida nursing homes are still failing to meet safety guidelines that were put in place after 12 people died from heat exhaustion at a Hollywood nursing home when the power went out during hurricane Irma.

Karen Farino lives at the Charlotte Harbors’s Solaris Healthcare, and she says she worries about the possibility of losing power if another powerful storm comes through.

“Everybody together here they would get uptight because it’s so warm,” said Farino.

State lawmakers require all assisted living and nursing homes keep an alternative power source, like a generator on site in the event of an emergency, with access to enough fuel to keep the building cool for at least 96 hours. Nursing homes have to keep a bulk of that fuel on property.

The assisted living and nursing homes were supposed to implement all of their plans by June 2018, with an extension through January 1. Still 8 facilities in Charlotte County, including Solaris have yet to fully implement their plan.

A spokesperson for AHCA says it can grant additional extensions due to unavoidable delays, such as issues with equipment availability or instillation scheduling.

Solaris administrators Stan Weyer says he has been waiting for months for the parts for the nursing  home’s new generator, which finally gets installed Tuesday.

“There’s only so much manufacturing for generators out there so everybody is scrambling around to get their generator ordered and get it delivered,” said the spokesperson.

Now seniors like Farino will have one less thing to worry about if a major storm comes through.


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