AHCA, which administers the states Medicaid program for needy and disabled Floridians, long has defended its policies for the treatment of frail and disabled children, and the agencys secretary has insisted repeatedly that children in nursing homes are well-cared for and are given a meaningful education and stimulating activities.
But an AHCA inspection last March found that Lakeshore failed to provide meaningful, chronological age and developmentally appropriate structured activities for two of the three children the agency observed closely on March 7, the day of an inspection.
Entire days went by, the report said, without any documentation of activities staff entering the pediatric ward. One visit lasted less than 30 minutes
Elders at the home often fared no better, AHCA records show.
Federal regulators fined Lakeshore $225,837, the second-highest federal fine in recent memory in addition to a $43,500 state penalty in 2011 when a vulnerable 83-year-old woman was repeatedly sexually assaulted by another resident. The 83-year-old suffered from blindness, senile dementia, failure to thrive and muscle weakness. After the first event, an AHCA report said, the facility failed to protect [the other resident] from future continued sexual assaults. Staff had been put on notice, records say, that the 84-year-old assailant had been aggressive toward the 83-year-old, and had failed to protect the alleged victim nonetheless.
The home also was faulted for failing to call police after the assault, as the homes resident abuse policy demands.
Brian Lee, who heads the elder advocacy group Families for Better Care in Tallahassee, said he views Lakeshores closure as bittersweet.
Hopefully, Lee said, residents will get better care if they are moved to a different nursing home.
Still, being forced to leave a nursing home, especially one that has been home for many years, often presents serious challenges to elders and others with dementia and other cognitive disorders.
Whether its children in nursing homes, or elderly adults or disabled adults, this type of relocation emergency relocation can cause psychological, and potentially physical, harm to residents, Lee said. As bad as Lakeshore Villas is, residents call this their home, and they are used to this place.
Its going to be hard for them to adjust, Lee added. If they are trying to find their way to the bathroom to brush their teeth, or even just knowing where the mirror is, it will be a whole different environment. This can cause emotional distress.