Assisted Living Facility Turns in Its License Before the State Can Revoke It

An assisted-living facility where an 82-year-old woman died after employees failed to give her her heart medicine, gave up its license yesterday. The facility will now become a community for elderly people who can live independently. The state had been working for nearly a year to get the facility's license revoked. Admissions to the facility had been banned since last September.

The facility was licensed to house 185 residents needing assisted living services, including residents with Alzheimer's disease. After the admissions freeze the facility was only housing 53 residents. Those residents must now find new homes and the facility's parent company is responsible for the costs incurred by the residents during the moving process.

The announcement came just a week-and-a-half before the company was to defend itself in a three-day hearing before a state administrative judge . The company had petitioned for the hearing after the state announced plans to revoke its license and fined the company $22,000. Instead of defending itself, however the company decided to give up, according to both parties.

The fine and license challenge were for a variety of health and safety problems – including a medicine mixup just before the death of one 82-year-old resident. For four days, facility staffers did not give her the heart medicine that a doctor had prescribed, according to the agency. As a result, she collapsed and was taken to a hospital. When she arrived, her heart was still trying to beat but it was so weak, she had no pulse, according to agency records. She died later that night of cardiopulmonary arrest, the agency reported.

In April, the agency investigated the death of a 69-year-old resident after the resident's family complained to the state. In this case the woman died of a painful stomach condition. The symptoms, including severe abdominal pain, had begun several days before, while she was still at the assisted living facility. The state found that while the facility was not responsible for the woman's death, staff did violate proper procedures.The resident had been prescribed hydrocodone two months earlier when she broke her wrist, and the facility's staff, gave her some of the medication because of the stomach pain. Staff never informed the woman's physician of her complaints of pain, nor did they consult the physician before administering the pain medication. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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