Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs Lawsuits and Inspection Results

Negligent care at Altamonte Springs Life Care Center

Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs Lawsuits

Operated since June 1976 by Life Care Centers of America, Inc., the Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs is a nursing home located at 989 Orienta Ave, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32701. However, the facility has faced several lawsuits and been cited by the Agency for Health Care Administration for failing to conform to regulations.

Details regarding the lawsuits and regulation violations at Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs are summarized below.

The Estate of Mary Louis Hefling, by and through Lisa Ann Hefling, Personal Representative v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc.; Forest L. Preston; and Jeffery Ryan Thomas

Allegations: The Complaint alleges that the facility purposely cut staffing and food costs to maximize profits, which resulted in the failure to supervise Mary Louise Hefling’s food and water intake while she was a resident at Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs. As a result, the complaint alleges, Ms. Hefling contracted pneumonia, a urinary tract infection, suffered from dehydration and malnutrition, and an acute kidney injury. According to the Complaint, these conditions exacerbated existing medical conditions and ultimately led to Ms. Hefling’s death.

Estate of Ethel Phillips, by and through Cedric Anderson, as Personal Representative and on behalf of her survivors v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc., a foreign for profit corporation doing business as Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs

Allegations: Ethel Phillips was admitted as a resident of Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs in May 2014, was discharged to Florida Hospital Altamonte in 2017, then re-admitted to the facility on August 11, 2017. The Complaint alleges that the staff at Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs failed to properly monitor Ms. Phillips and ensure that she was not suffering from severe constipation. This negligence, according to the Complaint, led Ms. Phillips to suffer a perforated bowel and experience septic shock, which then led to her death on August 20, 2017.

Michelle Rice, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Frances Rice v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc. d/b/a Life Care Center at Altamonte Springs and Jeffrey R. Thomas

Allegations: According to the Complaint, Frances Rice was a resident at the facility when she suffered an unwitnessed yet avoidable fall. As a result of the fall, she suffered a fracture to her right femur which required surgical repair. The Complaint alleges that Ms. Rice’s broken leg eventually exacerbated her preexisting conditions and ultimately led to her death.

*Each case is different. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome or indicate an expected outcome on your particular case. The above prior lawsuit information is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney. This individual case information above is publicly filed information gathered from the publicly filed complaint. This information and these cases are not the work of this law firm. The contents of this website should not be construed as legal advice on any specific fact or circumstance. Your receipt of such information does not create an attorney-client relationship with this law firm or any of its lawyers. You should not act or rely on any of the information contained herein without seeking professional legal advice. Speak with an attorney immediately if you believe you have a viable case against a nursing home, assisted living facility or medical facility. 

Inspection Results at Life Care at Altamonte Springs

In addition to the lawsuits detailed above, the State of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has reported that Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs has violated several state regulations. The most recent of these deficiencies are detailed below:

Standard Statement of Deficiencies dated 11/30/2018 at Life Care Altamonte Springs

During this survey, AHCA found that the Altamonte Springs Life Care facility had failed to follow several regulations. For example, the facility is required to provide quarterly statements to all residents regarding their personal fund accounts but had only done so for those residents who had verbally requested them.

The same survey found that a Licensed Practical Nurse had yelled “I am not your [expletive] dog, I will come in here when I want to” to a resident then left her room. When she reported the incident to the nurses, the LPN overheard her complaint and repeated the statement previously made, and threw her medication at the resident. Although she had reported the incident to the nurses and called the abuse hotline, the facility found that her allegation was unsubstantiated. However, the facility had not interviewed the resident directly, relying instead on statements she had made to a social worker approximately 48 hours after the incident in question. Although the facility’s policy stated that all such incidents are to be promptly investigated and the resident examined for any sign of injury, including a psychological assessment, no such examination of the resident was conducted.

Another resident was found to have slipped off his bed a number of times and although his significant other had reported this to the nurses and had been promised that floor mats will be placed around the resident’s bed, no such action was taken. Although fall mats were eventually provided, his care plan showed no revision or intervention status, in violation of regulations.

An examination of resident’s records also found that the facility failed to ensure that the attending physician provide a reason for discontinuing medication. The medication in question was used for coughs and colds and the physician did not provide a rationale for her decision or document the date the medication was declined.

With regard to non-resident matters, the kitchen was found to not be in compliance as the water temperatures used to rise the dishes were not within the guidelines posted.

Finally, a record for a resident’s DNRO form was dated and signed by a physician, but the physician’s medical license and printed name was not included on the form, as required.

Complaint Statement of Deficiencies dated 1/3/2018 at Life Care of Altamonte Springs

A survey conducted pursuant to a complaint received by AHCA found that the facility had discharged a resident to a hospital, then contacted the resident’s family regarding holding her bed while she was in the hospital. Life Care of Altamonte Springs stated to the family that they would not be holding her bed and that the resident would not be able to return after her discharge from the hospital.

The resident’s family member stated that she had never received notice of the bed hold policy prior to that call and the facility was unable to find the resident’s admission or readmission packet or any evidence that the bed hold policy was provided to the resident’s family.

Another resident experienced a similar issue; the last time information regarding a bed hold policy was provided to that resident was two years prior. The Administrator of the facility also confirmed that there is no bed hold policy information provided in the re-admission packets, and that this information was not provided to residents prior to their discharge to the hospital.

Standard Statement of Deficiencies dated 8/3/2017 at Life Care Center Altamonte Springs

AHCA found that Life Care of Altamonte Springs did not provide the correct care to one resident who had been admitted with an arteriovenous fistula. However, after the arteriovenous fistula failed, requiring a transfer to the hospital and subsequent re-admission, the resident had a catheter inserted into her right upper chest area. However, her medical record still noted that she had an arteriovenous fistula, despite the fact that the resident was receiving treatment through her the catheter in her upper right chest area.

In addition, the resident stated to the surveyor that she often avoided showers because she did not want water to get into her upper chest catheter as that could cause an infection. She related that she was not provided with a waterproof dressing of any type to use during her showers.

On the same day, another resident with a gastronomy tube was also observed to receive nutrition through her tube. The site where the gastronomy tube was located was not covered by any type of dressing. After the resident cleared the nutrition provided to her, a nurse administered some dissolved medication followed by some water. During this entire process, the resident was lying flat on her back. She started to wheeze after the medication was given to her. The nurses and staff confirmed that the resident’s head should be elevated at a greater angle to prevent aspiration of any liquids.

A review of the emergency medical kits also revealed that medication had been signed out of the kits but had not yet been replaced by the pharmacy. The Director of Nursing stated that this may be due to the fact that the pharmacy is often short staffed on the weekend, but confirmed that the kits had not been replaced in a timely manner.

Finally, the surveyor observed that a glucometer had not been sanitized despite being used on multiple residents. As this presented a risk of infection, the facility was cited by AHCA for this practice.

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