JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Avante at Jacksonville Beach decided to shut down its ventilator care program and will be moving patients Monday to Ormond Beach for treatment, according to the facility and families.
Two families contacted the News4Jax I-TEAM after being notified in April that their loved ones will be moved 90 miles away for care.
Both families appealed the notice, but nothing has been done.
“They’ve decided that it’s too expensive to care for her and to keep the unit open, so they are transferring her to Ormond Beach, Florida,” said Heather Jarvis, who lives in Texas.
Jarvis’ mother, 75-year-old Noreen Duby, has been in the facility’s ventilator care program for 18 months.
The family appealed to the Department of Children and Families but a spokesperson said their hands were tied.
Duby’s husband will now have to travel to visit his wife of 47 years.
“Without my father going and seeing her every day, not only are we talking about the emotional loss, but he actually (is a) caregiver to her, in addition to just being there to emotionally support her,” Jarvis said.
The decision will also be breaking apart Abdo Rustom’s family.
Rustom is living with stage 5 Parkinson’s disease. His daughter told the I-TEAM that if Rustom is moved, his wife of 57 years will have no way to visit him.
The I-TEAM found that the facility is currently on a watch list by state inspectors, and ranks poorly in overall care, in comparison to other facilities in Jacksonville.
The Agency for Health Care Administration gave Avante at Jacksonville Beach the lower comparative score – one star out of five for quality of care, overall inspection and administration.
Only one category received three out of five starts – quality of life for patients. The scores were last updated in May.
The I-TEAM also found that the AHCA has received 27 complaints against the facility since 2013 and has investigated at least 10 concerns.
“The problem I have with that is when you’re caring for someone at the end of their life, you have more than a financial responsibility to them. You have a moral and ethical responsibility to do what’s in the best interest of your patient. And it’s absolutely not in the best interest of my mother, who is at the end of her life, to be separated from the man who’s been with her for 47 years,” Jarvis said.
The I-TEAM spoke off-camera with the facility’s executive director, John Simmons. He acknowledged the family’s concerns, saying that keeping only two ventilator care patients at the facility isn’t financially feasible because of the amount of care they require.
The two patients will be moved Monday morning.
Avante at Jacksonville Beach is a for-profit nursing home with 165 beds for patients and costs patients on average of $295 a day to live there.
The facility is currently about 76 percent occupied with 126 patients living there, according to state records. It’s currently licensed, but the facility’s license expires at the end of the month.