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Letter: Florida needs to end 'cruel form of discharge' under Baker Act

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
By reader submitted

I would like to express my thanks to Brian Lee, the state’s long-term care ombudsman for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, for his Dec. 26 guest column regarding improper nursing home discharges.

My husband was a victim of an improper discharge by a facility in Hobe Sound in 2007. Since that time, I have been advocating for change in the health-care system to protect long-term care residents.

My husband was discharged by Baker Act to a mental facility and held for three weeks without health or personal care. He was a Treasure Coast hospice patient, but he received no hospice care. The nursing home refused to re-admit him. A new placement was impossible to find and he was relocated to a facility in Broward County, 80 miles from my home.

His residency rights were denied, as were my rights as his wife/caregiver. Due to age and distance, I was unable to visit him. He has been a resident at the Dania Beach facility for three years and now is nearing the end of his life. I cannot be with him. How can this cruel form of discharge be tolerated by our health-care system?

Mr. Lee’s column was a great contribution to our community.

Lorraine R. Lemerise