Assisted liviing facility faces moratorium on admissions

State regulators this week hit a Lakeland assisted-living facility with an admissions moratorium after the facility failed to take proper safeguards following the hospitalization of 33 of its residents because of COVID-19.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration on Tuesday issued the moratorium on admissions at Grace Manor at Lake Morton. The order said the agency surveyed the facility Monday and found that a resident who had recently tested positive for COVID-19 was seated in the common dining room waiting for his food. 

The resident was not wearing personal protective equipment and was seated near three other residents and three staff members, according to the order. Also, other residents were not wearing personal protective equipment, and the order said staff members only wore protective masks. Moreover, the order alleged that there were no “observations” of the “washing of hands between care and services or the changing of masks between episodes of resident care.”

The state said in the order that the facility “did not have identified areas for resident isolation in the event a resident was suspected of having obtained the virus” or an identified quarantine area for residents who may have come into contact with other residents suspected of having the virus.

As of Wednesday, 1,564 residents of long-term care facilities statewide had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Another 2,481 long term care residents who tested positive had been transferred to other facilities, mostly hospitals, where they can be treated and isolated from other residents.

“In this instance, the respondent (Grace Manor at Lake Morton) has demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to implement proactive action to protect residents, staff and third parties from the challenges presented by COVID-19,” Tuesday’s emergency order said.

“These failures are demonstrated by the respondent’s failure to consistently undertake and implement basic protective measures, including the use of personal protective equipment for staff and residents, the use of isolation, and the implantation of social distancing practices. T

hese failures constitute a demonstrated general disregard of the recommended actions to minimize the risk of infection.” Attempts to contact the facility for comment were unsuccessful.