State regulators in Miami, Florida ordered an assisted living facility to shut down after caregivers tied an elderly woman to her wheelchair. The Miami Herald reported that the frail woman was forced to sit on a life-threatening wound after being bound to the wheelchair. The San Martin De Porras assisted living facility will have to pay $20,000 in fines and it will have to close following an order from the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
While this facility closure occurred in Florida, it has relevance for residents of California nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The nursing home abuse in Miami may have happened across the country, but the problems in this facility could happen anywhere. If you are concerned that a loved one may be experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s important to speak to an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your options.
Details of the Assisted Living Facility Closure
In February 2012, the health care agency received a complaint about the San Martin De Porras facility. Inspectors arrived to find a woman “tied to a wheelchair, struggling to get up.” As if that weren’t reason enough to close the facility, the inspectors also discovered that the woman “was being forced to sit on a pressure sore, exacerbating what was already a severe wound,” according to the court records.
In court a nurse testified about the woman’s condition, remarking, “this resident was in imminent danger.” Carla Mayorga, a registered nurse who testified at the hearing, indicated that the victim’s pressure sore, which was located near her buttocks, “had become so severe that it could eventually lead to the death of the resident.”
According to the records, the elderly woman should never have been a resident at the San Martin De Porras facility to begin with. She suffered from seizures, diabetes, psychosis, pain, and two pressure sores. She wasn’t receiving any medication for her seizure disorder, and the facility wasn’t monitoring her blood to control her diabetes. As a result, she should have been receiving care in a skilled nursing home according to the Agency for Health Care Administration—not in an assisted living facility.
The court ordered the facility to close on June 3rd, and it will have thirty days to complete the closure. According to the court, the closure is “for the sole purpose of allowing the safe and orderly discharge” of the residents at the facility. In addition to requiring the facility to close, the court also made clear that San Martin De Porras cannot accept any new residents.
A Rash of Facility Closures?
License revocation for an assisted living facility is rare in Florida, the Miami Herald reported. And this isn’t the San Martin De Porras facility’s first encounter with the Agency for Health Care Administration. In fact, the facility had been faulted in February and March of 2013 for having inadequate staff, and back in 2010 the facility was faulted for “sloppy record-keeping” and for “failing to help residents take their medications.” That same year, the facility was fined when it failed “to allow a resident access to his own clothes, so as to maintain individuality and personal dignity.”
While license revocation may not be the norm, facilities across the state of Florida have been ordered to close in recent months. In April, a New Port Richey assisted living facility lost its license after it failed to adequately staff its facility and to report injuries. Further, it allowed a caretaker “with a history of violence” to continue working at the facility, according to the New Port Richey Patch. In May, the state revoked the license of a 118-bed assisted living facility in Boynton Beach.
If your elderly loved one has suffered abuse at an assisted living facility, an elder justice advocate can speak to you today. Contact us to discuss your case.