Disability Rights Florida (DRF) is the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system for the state of Florida. The P&A system is a nationwide network of disability rights agencies created by Congress to protect the human and civil rights of individuals with disabilities. DRF’s advocacy efforts take place in a variety of settings including, but not limited to, hospitals, nursing homes, community facilities for individuals with mental illness, board and care homes, jails, prisons and community housing, such as group homes and other treatment centers.
In order to enhance its advocacy efforts, DRF frequently engages outside experts such as nurses, psychiatrists, security experts, trauma specialists, to work with its advocates and attorneys in order to effectively negotiate for change. For example, DRF engaged a nationally known epidemiologist to assist with monitoring efforts at our state operated inpatient psychiatric hospitals to assess COVID 19 related safety practices and make recommendations accordingly. DRF also engaged an LCSW with a specialty in trauma during efforts to reduce the use of restraints at a child psychiatric residential facility.
Melissa Cyril, DRF Rights Training and Outreach Coordinator, Molly Paris, DRF Senior Staff Atorney, propose to present at this presentation about the use of such experts, outside of the litigation context. We would also like to include on our panel Karen Kirby, RN, MSN, who has consulted with DRF on several serious abuse and neglect investigations and accompanied DRF staff on monitoring visits to assess health and safety of individuals receiving psychiatric care.
The following are the proposed goals and objectives of this presentation: