Nursing home abuse lawyers at Pintas & Mullins report that three assisted living facilities in Florida, Apple House I, San Martin De Porras, and Boynton Beach Assisted Living Facility, were recently ordered to shut down after repeated violations were left unresolved.
The Boynton Beach Facility was cited by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration for losing two residents who wandered away, failing to prevent an incident of rape, and overall inadequate care. Residents will be moved to another facility. Boynton Beach was also recently charged with Medicare fraud.
The second facility, San Martin De Porras Assisted Living Facility, was shut down after caregivers tied an elderly woman to a wheel chair. The illegal physical restraint forced the frail woman to sit on a life-threatening pressure ulcer for long periods of time, further exacerbating the wound.
The restraint was discovered in February 2012 by state health inspectors, who consequently fined the facility $20,000 and closed its doors. In their report, inspectors affirmed that the resident was in imminent danger, and details how inspectors found her, trying to get up from the chair but unable to, as she was restrained with two lap belts around her abdomen and legs. She also had a pressure ulcer on her backside, which was not being medically treated.
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Pressure ulcers in nursing homes are, unfortunately, incredibly common, and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly and properly. The restrained woman suffered from seizures, diabetes, psychosis, and two pressure ulcers. She should not have even been in an assisted living facility – she required the services of a skilled nursing facility. She was not receiving medication for her seizure disorder at San Martin, nor were her blood levels being monitored to control her diabetes.
The reason for this, according to facility records, was because her earlier medical records had been shredded. Not surprisingly, in 2010, the facility was cited for sloppy record-keeping and failing to help residents properly take all their medications, along with failing to keep proper medication records.
In both February and March 2013, the facility was cited for having inadequate staff.
The third facility, located in Putnam County, recently entered into a settlement agreement with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, resulting in its closure. Apple House I was subject to several monitoring surveys since 2012, which came up with several violations and fines of about $28,500. Apple House II, located in Crescent City, was fined $7,000 but allowed to keep its doors open.
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The surveys of Apple House I found two Class One violations – the most serious – and four Class Two violations. The two Class One incidents stemmed from the abuse of a resident by another resident, which surveyors concluded staff could have reasonably prevented. The agency found that Apple House failed to ensure its residents a safe and decent living environment, after it admitted a resident known to possess behaviors of violence and harmfulness. The agency also determined Apple House failed to educate its residents of their personal rights to report incidents of abuse or neglect, whether it be by employees or other residents, thereby failing to protect the privacy and dignity of residents.
The four Class Two violations included failure to train competent staff, which was discovered after the facility manager never achieved passing marks on a state-required CORE competency test. Other violations included failure to perform adequate background checks on staff members, which is a significant measure considering the vulnerable nature of the facility’s residents.
American senior citizens are the most highly-targeted demographic for criminals and predators looking to scam trusting citizens out of their savings. Too often, scammers apply for jobs in assisted living facilities to prey on residents, many of whom suffer from dementia or other cognitive disabilities. Failing to perform background checks for all employees in a nursing home or assisted living facility is simply unacceptable.
Senior abuse and neglect lawyers at Pintas & Mullins will continue to report on facility closures and significant citations and violations. It is critically important for families of loved ones in nursing homes to stay up-to-date on that facility’s managerial practices, survey results, and inspector reports. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a nursing home due to the negligence or blatant abuse of a staff member, you may be entitled to significant compensation, and should contact a skilled lawyer as soon as possible.