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Mom of disabled child concerned by Federal lawsuit

6:55 PM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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BALDWIN,Fla. -- When the Department of Justice decided to sue Florida over children in nursing homes parents began asking -- what does it mean for their children?

"I chose to be a photographer because I prefer to be behind the camera," said Diedra Rocker.

But this time Rocker went in front of the camera to express a concern.

"I think there's a big problem here," said Rocker. 

Rocker has a child who is severely disabled. Angel ,18, requires health care seven days a week, at a minimum of 18 hours a day.

"If something happens to me like I get sick or die Angelique would have to go to a nursing home," she said.

Rocker provides for Angel in her home, but feels if the federal lawsuit prevents Florida nursing homes from housing disabled children like Angel, parents are in trouble.

It saddens me because what if I decided I can't do this anymore the nursing home is the next step," said Rocker. "If it is gone what do I do with Angelique?"

Rocker said the thought brings tears to her eyes. 

"She has cerebral palsy, she has a seizure disorder, she has hypertension," said Rocker, "she's dependent on her caregivers for all of her needs."

Rocker believes she is speaking for other parents in the same situation who are concerned about the possibility of disabled children being banned from adult nursing homes.

Rocker said she doesn't plan to put her daughter in a home, but she doesn't want to lose that choice either.

"Don't take it away from me because that is my only other option," she said.

A spokesperson for Florida Agency for Healthcare Adminstration said that parents have no need to be concerned. She said that ACHA is constantly in contact with families about their child's care.

"We contact every parent who has a child in a nursing facility at minimum every six months to discuss their child's care with them."

As for the lawsuit, ACHA's Secretary, Elizabeth Dudek said, "Washington is not interested in helping families improve, but instead is determined to file disruptive lawsuits."

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