Neglected to Death

Series produced by Kenny Malone

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A two-part investigation into the state of assisted-living in Florida. Assisted-living facilities (or ALFs) house two of the state's most vulnerable populations: the elderly and the mentally ill. Florida was among the first states to regulate the ALF industry and to introduce a Residents' Bill of Rights. Now, with almost 3,000 homes in the state and tens of thousands of people living in assisted-living, a year-long investigation by the Miami Herald and WLRN has turned up at least 70 questionable deaths due to caretaker negligence in facilities that primarily care for the elderly. And our investigation found a litany of problems with facilities that cater to the mentally ill. Day One, "The Death of Aurora Navas," focuses on the questionable deaths. Day Two, "The Accidental Life of Cannon Point," focuses on the challenges faced by facilities that care for people with mental illness.

Summary of Findings from the Miami Herald and WLRN Investigation:

-Nearly once a month, residents die from abuse and neglect — with some caretakers even altering and forging records to conceal evidence — but law enforcement agencies almost never make arrests.

-Homes are routinely caught using illegal restraints — including powerful tranquilizers, locked closets and ropes — but the state rarely if ever punishes them.

-State regulators could have shut down 70 homes in the past two years for a host of severe violations — including neglect and abuse by caretakers — but in the end, closed just seven.

-While the number of new homes has exploded across the state — 550 in the past five years — the state has dropped critical inspections by 33 percent, allowing some of the worst facilities to stay open.

-Though the state has the power to impose fines on homes that break the law, the penalties are routinely decreased, delayed or dropped altogether.

-The state’s lack of enforcement has prompted other government agencies to cut off funding and in some cases refuse to send clients to live in homes AHCA won’t close. Hide full description

Summary of Findings from the Miami Herald and WLRN Investigation:

-Nearly once a month, residents die from abuse and neglect — with some caretakers even altering and forging records to conceal evidence — but law enforcement agencies almost never make arrests.

-Homes are routinely caught using illegal restraints — including powerful tranquilizers, locked closets and ropes — but the state rarely if ever punishes them.

-State regulators could have shut down 70 homes in the past two years for a host of severe violations — including neglect and abuse by caretakers — but in the end, closed just seven.

-While the number of new homes has exploded across the state — 550 in the past five years — the state has dropped critical inspections by 33 percent, allowing some of the worst facilities to... Show full description


3 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Reporter Kenny Malone spent Christmas Morning at Shalom Manor, an assisted living facility just west of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. , Credit: Kenny Malone/WLRN Staff
I met Paul Encin on Christmas Morning at Shalom Manor, a 35-bed assisted living facility just west of Fort Lauderdale. Paul suffers from Paranoid S...

Bought by PRX Remix, KUOW, and WAMC


  • Added: Oct 27, 2011
  • Length: 06:01
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Aurora and Manuel Navas, married in Cuba., Credit: Courtesy of Annie Navas
In Florida, tens of thousands of people live in the state's nearly 3,000 assisted-living facilities. A ground-breaking year-long collaborative inve...

Bought by PRX Remix, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KUT, KUOW, and WAMC


  • Added: May 04, 2011
  • Length: 07:17
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: The Cannon Point neighborhood is like nowhere else., Credit: Google Maps
Cannon Point is a one-block stretch in Broward County, Florida, with the highest concentration of mental health assisted-living facilities in the s...

Bought by PRX Remix, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KUT, KUOW, and WAMC


  • Added: May 04, 2011
  • Length: 07:51
  • Purchases: 5