More than 60 nursing facilities in Florida were still without power after the state was hit by Hurricane Irma as of Thursday, according to the Florida Health Care Association.
One of the 62 nursing facilities still without power as of 9 a.m. Thursday is in Manatee County, and three are in Sarasota County, according to Kristen Knapp, director of communications for Florida Health Care Association.
Knapp said she could not provide the names of the facilities.
There are 683 nursing facilities in Florida.
“Florida is a leader in long term care and the vast majority of facilities in our state uphold the highest standards for the residents under their care. Our centers’ top priority is always the safety and well-being of their residents, especially during the difficult situation a major hurricane creates. A natural disaster of this magnitude presents extreme challenges to every sector, especially those entrusted with the care of Florida's aging seniors. We continue to maintain close communications with local, state, and federal officials and the appropriate utility companies and aid organizations to ensure that power is restored to every facility in Florida as soon as possible,” a statement from the Florida Health Care Association Thursday read.
The statement was in response to the deaths of eight seniors in Hollywood, Florida after their nursing home, Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, lost power due to the hurricane. An investigation has been opened into their deaths by Hollywood police as well as the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Children & Families.
Nursing homes are not required under state and federal regulations to have generators but must have an “alternate source of energy to maintain temperatures to protect resident health and safety,” according to the Palm Beach Post.
In an email, an FPL spokesman said, “Each year FPL works in partnership with local officials in each of the 35 communities that we serve. Working together we identify top critical facilities that require priority restoration. Each community is different and we work to individualize priorities like hospitals, police and fire stations, communication facilities, water treatment plants and transportation providers. However, if you or someone you know needs immediate help, please call 911 or seek medical assistance.”
In a press conference Thursday, an FPL spokesman called the incident in Hollywood, a tragedy and urged those who have an emergency not to wait for power to be restored and call 911 or seek out a special needs shelter.
A senior assisted living facility in Bradenton was also without power Thursday afternoon.