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DCF concludes investigation into Cape facility

By Staff | Jan 13, 2011

A Department of Children and Families investigation did not sustain allegations of elderly abuse at an assisted living facility in Cape Coral.
The investigation was opened Nov. 16 after DCF was contacted by police about a report filed that involved claims of abuse at Clare Bridge of Cape Coral, at 911 Santa Barbara Blvd. Two victims were listed on the report.
DCF closed its investigation Wednesday evening.
“It did close with no indicators of physical abuse,” Erin Gillespie, DCF’s spokeswoman, said Thursday. “Which means that we didn’t find any evidence that the allegations of physical abuse were true.”
She said specifics on the investigation will not be available as DCF records are not public. Gillespie did say that during investigations, especially in adult situations, the agency talks to the alleged victims and potential witnesses.
“We interview anyone who has contact with the person to try and get a complete picture of what’s going on,” she said.
The alleged victims also undergo a physical exam or medical checkup, or investigators review existing medical records, if they exist.
“To see if we can corroborate the allegations,” Gillespie said.
DCF’s findings in the investigation will be sent to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which licenses assisted living facilities in the state. ACHA conducts regular inspections, follows up on deficiencies or violations, and investigates when a complaint is filed.
Between Nov. 30 and Dec. 3, the agency investigated one complaint of an allegation of resident abuse. A caller claimed that an employee at the facility had been abusing residents by bending one person’s thumb backwards and by punching another in the chest after the resident forehead-bumped him.
The caller also stated that the employee twisted residents’ arms.
ACHA spokeswoman Shelisha Coleman said the abuse was not confirmed.
From Dec. 1-2, the agency investigated a complaint about Clare Bridge not ensuring that residents wear their own clothing and that the facility failed to provide a clean and safe environment. The complaint stated that a bathroom and resident area smelled of urine and the dining room chairs were unclean.
Coleman said those complaints also were not sustained.
“We completed our investigation,” she said. “The allegations were not substantiated.”
On Dec. 1, ACHA also followed up on three complaints received in September and August about record keeping at the facility. The deficiencies were fixed.
“They’re in good standing right now,” Coleman said.
Clare Bridge of Cape Coral is operated by Brookdale Senior Living.
“We are very pleased with the results of the investigations,” Holly Botsford, a spokeswoman for Brookdale Senior Living, wrote in a prepared statement.
“It is our company policy to take all measures necessary to protect the lives, privacy and dignity of out residents, and their safety and security is always out first priority,” she stated. “Clare Bridge Cape Coral is committed to quality care and services for our residents.”
In December, Brookdale reported that three employees from Clare Bridge recently had been fired for violating company policy and being disruptive to operations. Officials emphasized that the terminations were not related to an internal investigation by the company nor to any related incident.