Nancy Matlock sits in a chair at Baptist Hospital in Homestead. On Sept. 29, Nancy was transported to the emergency room after she was found to have gastrointestinal bleeding. CONTRIBUTED

Stephanie Matlock Fouts is relieved her mother no longer lives in a local nursing home where she suffered rashes, a pelvic fracture and weight loss, among other ailments dating back to August. 

Despite now receiving care in a different facility, Matlock Fouts says, her mom is no longer the same as before her health started to deteriorate a few months back. A recent report by the Agency for Health Care Administration sustained complaints she brought over her mom’s care against the nursing facility in Tavernier that led her to be hospitalized. 

Issues go back to mid-August when 81-year-old Nancy Matlock fell out of her bed inside her room on the second floor at Crystal Health & Rehab Center, located at 48 High Point Road. No injuries were sustained from the incident, but another fall occurred some 16 days later, leading her to suffer a pelvic fracture. She was subsequently brought down to the first floor for rehab. 

It wasn’t until a Facetime call Matlock Fouts had with her mother in late August that she started noticing her mother’s deteriorating health. Matlock Fouts questioned staff, who assured her she was fine and in good health. By late September, Matlock Fouts noticed some serious problems over her mom’s appearance. That night, Matlock Fouts was informed her mother was vomiting. She asked the nurse how much she weighed. Fouts was told 123 pounds. Months before, Matlock Fouts said, she weighed around 140 pounds. 

Based on reviews of the facility, observations and interviews, AHCA concluded the facility failed to provide new interventions for “resident one” in the facility, whom Matlock Fouts identified as her mother, after her fall.  Per the report, initial interventions to prevent the fall from happening again were documented as frequent checks every two hours, keeping the door slightly open for monitoring and educating use of the call bell. But the prevention plan didn’t provide a plan to keep her bed at the lowest position when she was in it, nor did it involve use of mats to prevent potential injury. 

As for her mother’s weight, a dietitian recommended she receive no-sugar shakes twice daily for an additional 400 calories and 14 grams of protein. Records show, however, that the no-sugar shakes were never ordered by facility staff. Per the report, the facility’s director of nursing said the communication system between the dietitian and nursing staff was broken. Further, the nursing director said she and her staff were not reading the emails sent by the dietitian, leading to a delay in the ordering of the shakes. 

On Sept. 29, Nancy was transported to the emergency room at Baptist Hospital in Homestead after she was found to have gastrointestinal bleeding. It wasn’t the only issue Nancy had, as Matlock Fouts said her mom’s liver enzymes and kidney enzymes were elevated. She had renal failure, and her weight was around 100 pounds. Matlock Fouts said her mother also had a pressure injury stage 2 to the sacrum, which is an open ulcer, or bedsore. She also has deep tissue injuries to her heels and elbows. 

“All I want is proper care for any resident who’s at that facility,” Matlock Fouts said. “If it takes my voice to make that happen, then that’s all that matters to me because that facility is not being run correctly in my opinion. I fear there’s going to be continued neglect unless someone’s had accountable.”

The nursing facility said licensed and registered nurses were re-educated on completing weekly weighing when recommended by the registered dietitian. The facility, within its corrective action plan, also said that nurses were re-educated on the importance of appropriate interventions in place to prevent resident falls and injury. 

“Licensed/registered nurses will receive ongoing quarterly education, ensuring appropriate interventions are completed and documented in clinical record,” the facility states. 

Matlock Fouts added that she’s waiting for a report on an investigation from the state Department of Children and Family Services. She is also among several who are suing the facility for neglect of a loved one inside the facility. 

Matlock Fouts said her mother has no desire to walk and eat. 

“She’s not the mother who I knew prior to her pelvic fracture,” she said. 

Some 18 inspections were conducted by AHCA during 2020 that range from complaints to monitoring and fire, life and safety. Deficiencies were cited on 11 of those inspections, with four corrected. 

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