Group calls for investigation into elderly deaths during hurricane

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The recent report of 30 bodies found at a nursing home near New Orleans has sent ripple effects throughout the nursing home community, and the world at large.

The National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform issued a press release in response to reports of the deaths, calling on the federal government to provide funding for residents in nursing homes affected by the hurricane and those who need nursing home care. The group is advocating 100% federal Medicaid matching funds for nursing home and long-term care for those affeced, as well as various aid for long-term care workers.

The organization is also pushing for both houses of Congress to "begin immediate investigations into the abandonment of so many elderly and disabled residents of New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina struck."

Meanwhile, the story of the residents who drowned in a nursing home in St. Bernard Parish has traveled to media outlets throughout the world, including publications in South Africa and Egypt.

About half of the 65 residents of St. Rita's nursing home died when floodwaters rose in the facility. One media account said the facility had an evacuation plan but decided to stick out the storm at the last minute. About 24 employees and residents escaped, but 30 were left behind, the report said.