Florida Nursing Home Under Investigation After Resident Death
An investigation has been launched into a Pinellas Park, Florida, nursing home after a wheelchair-bound resident died from injuries sustained after being left in the sun for several hours as temperatures soared above 90 degrees.
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The GraceWood Rehabilitation and Nursing Care resident suffered second-degree sunburns, blistering, and dehydration. He died from heart failure at a nearby hospital.
With no living relatives, a healthcare proxy served as the decedent’s guardian. The proxy stated that the nursing home never notified them regarding the man’s death. Instead, they were notified by the hospital.
The company has since stated it is planning to remove its 10 remaining patients from the facility after countless questions remain unanswered and a loss of trust in the facility’s quality of care.
The Pinellas Park Police Department and various Florida agencies are investigating the incident to determine if neglect or abuse played a role in the man’s death.
Prior Abuse Complaints Against Facility
GraceWood Rehabilitation and Nursing Care has been on the state’s “watch list” for several years for its failure to meet the minimum standards of care during previous inspections. The facility is rated poorly by Medicare.gov and is ranked in the bottom 20 percent of nursing homes in the area by the Agency for Health Care Administration due to poor quality of care and poor administration.
Since 2012, at least three fines for poor care have been filed against the facility. In 2012, a complaint was made against the facility for failing to address a resident’s leg fractures. Neither the leg injury, nor the resident’s allegations of abuse were ever reported to the appropriate parties. GraceWood did not contest the complaint.
In 2014, claims citing the unsafe use of mechanical wheelchair lifts led to a settlement of $2,500 with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. According to a complaint from June 2014, a 93-year-old resident fell from a mechanical chair lift, sustaining fatal injuries. The same year, another resident fell from a lift, sustaining a head injury that required staples.
Already this year, there have been two complaints that residents’ dental needs have been neglected. These complaints have gone unchallenged.