Health officials block new admissions to assisted living facility

State health care officials on Friday issued an emergency moratorium on new admissions at a South Florida assisted living facility after staff at the facility watched a resident pass away and never attempted to resuscitate the resident, according to state documents.

The facility under scrutiny, Floridians Gardens Assisted Living Facility, is part of the Larkin Community Hospital, the owner of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where residents died in sweltering conditions following Hurricane Irma.

The Agency for Health Care Administration conducted a survey of the 180-bed Miami assisted living facility following the unidentified resident’s death.

As part of the survey, staff reviewed a video which showed the resident sitting in a reclining chair by the nurse’s station at 10:12 p.m. on April 3.

About an hour later, the video shows the resident sitting with a blood pressure cuff on the resident's arm.

An hour after that, a “staff member obviously observes the resident but does not touch the resident,” the agency noted in its emergency moratorium.

The same staff member made a phone call six minutes later.

At 11:48 p.m., another staff member “appears to look at the resident and appears to express distress or worry but take no action to address, touch or check on the resident’s well being,” according to the survey.

Two minutes later, the resident’s arm “goes limp” and “a staff member standing near the resident makes the sign of the cross and signals with a swipe of the arms to a co-worker,” the report said. “The co-worker approaches the resident and walks away wiping tears from her eyes. No further action related to the resident is taken by any staff member,” the survey report accompanying the emergency moratorium notes.

Around midnight, “the supervisor on duty makes a call but never looks at the resident nor touches the resident,” according to the moratorium.

Law enforcement and emergency medical personnel called to the facility were unable to resuscitate the patient, according to the moratorium, filed Friday.

“At no time … did the Respondent’s staff members check the resident to determine the presence of breaths or pulse,” the moratorium reads.

Numerous attempts by The News Service Florida on Monday to contact the facility’s administrator, Grettel Arzola, were unsuccessful.

According to the health agency's report, there were no licensed nurses in the facility when the resident died.

During the survey, state health regulators also discovered that  between December 2017 and April 2018 five residents at the facility fell and required hospitalizations due to their injuries.

Four of the five residents’ records indicated that they required additional protections against potential falls.

According to the state agency’s website, the facility’s license is currently being litigated.