For three years, the family of 85-year-old Aurora Navas ( a dementia patient) unsuccessfully sought information about her drowning death at an assisted living facility in Florida. Even after pleading with regulatory agencies for an investigation into why their mother drowned, their pleas for the details surrounding their mother’s death fell on deaf ears.
Then, in the wake widely publicized investigative report from The Miami Herald concerning the lack of investigations into injuries and deaths at assisted living facilities throughout the state, an investigation into the suspicious death was initiated.
The investigation recently completed by the Department of Children & Families cites many errors made by the adult care facility that collectively contributed to Ms. Nava’s drowning death in a pond adjacent to the facility. Despite claims from the facility that all elopement precautions were in place at the time of Ms. Navas’ death, state investigators uncovered the following:
- Broken surveillance cameras
- Sleeping staff
- Out of order door alarms
- Unlocked gate leading to a pond
While I’m sure this family is saddened by the blatant safety lapses discovered by state investigators, I hope that the findings bring some closure to this tragedy. If anything positive can come of this tragedy, I hope that these findings reinforce the need for timely investigations on the part of regulatory authorities. How many other untold tragedies were perpetuated upon innocent people at this ALF during the three years following Ms. Navas’ death?