CAPE CORAL, Fla. — State regulators have issued an Emergency Suspension Order against an assisted living facility in Cape Coral, effectively shutting down the down the business.
Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration ordered The Woodlands, located off Santa Barbara Blvd., to suspend operations effective November 14th at 5:00 p.m.
According to the state legal filing, investigators have deemed “an immediate serious threat and danger to the public health, safety, or welfare presently exists at the Facility which justifies an emergency suspension.”
Nearly 100 people live at the facility.
When Fox 4 arrived on scene, our cameras captured medical transport crews relocating many of the residents.
LITANY OF ALLEGATIONS
Regulators accused The Woodlands, which is owned by Langham Healthcare, LLC, a company based in New York, of a series of disturbing allegations.
Including allegations of sexual assault against the facility’s residents, a bed bug infestation, and improper and unsafe maintenance.
“The conditions at the Facility constitute an emergency that must be immediately addressed to protect residents and potential residents from the immediate threat and danger posed to their health, safety and welfare,” the state agency said in the legal filing.
The corporate owners of The Woodlands never responded to requests for comment.
ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE
State regulators allege that on July 24th, a resident at The Woodlands sexually assaulted another resident.
The victim, according to the investigation, suffers from dementia and is unable to answer simple questions.
“The Facility’s sole response was to shower the victim. No further medical or mental health assessments were conducted,” according to the state report.
The state agency found staff at The Woodlands never investigated or documented the incident.
TWO INCIDENTS ON ONE DAY
According to the state report, on October 3rd of this year, there were two incidents that put lives in danger and were never reported.
The state found a resident fell through a glass window in the entrance lobby and suffered injuries.
While the resident was taken to the hospital, the state alleges The Woodlands never filed any incident reports as required by state law.
On the same day, the state alleges a resident eloped from the facility around 7:00 p.m.
Staffers, according to the legal filing, had no idea the resident had wandered away for two hours.
“Neither law enforcement nor the resident’s family were notified of the event,” the state alleges in the report.
The resident was found several hours later nearly one-and-a-half miles away walking along a busy four lane highway.
The state alleges the facility undertook no internal investigation and never filed incident reports as required by state law.
Regulators also documented several issues with the physical building.
Water pipes were dripping into the hallway and residents rooms, according to the report, with evidence of bio-growth.
Investigators also say there is no hot water in three of the five resident halls in the facility.
“Ninety-eight (98) residents are forced to either take cold showers or utilize two (2) communal showers,” the report found.
The Florida Department of Health, according to the state, found a bed bug infestation in the facility on September 11th.
But when regulators returned on October 16th, they allege The Woodlands had not yet contacted a pest control company, “but instead treated the infestation by an over-the-counter pesticide applied only when bed bugs are visually observed.”