NEWS & OPINION
NURSING HOME UNDER INVESTIGATION AFTER WWII VET BARRED FROM FAMILY ON DEATHBED
By HARVARD HOLTON
Roger Swanson, a WWII veteran and founder of the Orlando Local News, passed away alone in a nursing facility, despite unheeded requests for end of life visitation to the home by the family. The nursing home at Colonial Lakes Healthcare in Winter Garden grants such requests by family so long as no COVID-19 symptoms are apparent. Swanson passed away of normal causes not related to COVID-19.
Recent recordings and whistle blower witnesses emerged validating many of the claims made by the family. A sign on the front of the facility and message machine also stated an exception for end of life family visits so long as the individuals remain free of Coronavirus symptoms. The sign has since been removed.
According to the family, Swanson’s nurse and CNA stated his symptoms earlier in the day appeared to be end of life. Immediately following his death, the nursing home allowed the family to view the body despite waiting for hours outside. A long discussion with nursing administrator Kim Lane resulted in an exercise of verbal gymnastics with few answers being given on the issue, according to Swanson's family.
That's when the Orlando Local News stepped in to find answers. The editor of the Local News began an investigation once the red flags were raised. The recordings revealed both a lack of compassion on behalf of the administrator and a neglectful attitude. Causing even greater concern in regards to the care received at the facility and the possibility of purposeful neglect, just last month a different family filed a police report into an alleged beating of a patient at the facility by staff.
The Orlando Local News approached Kim Lane at the facility and met with her outdoors in a public area. Kim Lane's official title is Executive Director. Nevertheless, Lane neither holds a nursing degree nor any other medical certificate. When asked why the nursing home did not allow Swanson's family to visit upon end of life symptoms, Lane engaged in a lengthy rant even the late prominent attorney "Racehorse Haynes" would be proud of.
The diatribe began by Lane giving a lecture crock full of technicalities and semantics that often contradicted themselves. First Lane, an administrator with no education in medicine, dismissed the diagnoses presented by her own nurses and CNAs who claimed Swanson had been deteriorating for hours, according witness accounts. Then, Lane played ignorant by failing to acknowledge that "end of life care" and "crisis care" were not one in the same - until she admitted they were. When asked what qualifies for crisis care, Lane said when "it's eminent and he's going right now."
Outdoor audio recordings which took place in a public area also exist with medically trained nursing staff who describe the situation a bit differently than the administrator Kim Lane. His nurse stated that: "After the second shift at three o'clock I came and checked on him and he was just laying back. Being in this profession I kind of knew it was that time... When I came in here I knew it was almost that time." Swanson died at approximately four o'clock. This can be verified by his death certificate. Meanwhile many of his family waited outside as the nursing home in restricted access.
The family of Swanson additionally stated that the attitude directed at them by Lane embodied hostility to their questions and a lack of care for their loss with Lane even checking the time during their brief chat. Once the family entered the room where Swanson's body lay, they waited hours before staff took to the phones and contacted the funeral home, even as the family prodded them several times. As the family waited in Swanson's room, they noticed the empty walls. None of the photos given to the facility were ever placed there.
Due to the lack of funds for medical care in nursing homes, many hire staff with bare-bones training. As a result, most conscientious families know the dire necessity to visit on a regular basis to monitor their loved ones care. When Swanson entered the nursing home, his medical condition remained stable. However, in several short weeks he lost a substantial amount of weight and deteriorated rapidly. The family claims that his decline occurred due to restrictions placed on the family by the COVID-19 pandemic in regards to visitation. Without visitation, the family said, little could be done to ensure his wellbeing under the poor care he received.
We believe our World War II heroes and their families deserve far more than a disgraceful send off such as this. Colonial Lakes Healthcare must be investigated for the callous manner in which the facility handled this tragedy. Congressman John Mica stated that it was, "So very sad to hear of [his] passing- he was truly a part of the Greatest Generation and I was honored to know him... It's also very sad to learn that his final days and hours were so poorly handled."
Below readers may listen to one of the excerpts from this investigation during our questioning with nursing home administrator Kim Lane. Further audio may be released over the next few days.
The nursing home and administrator are currently under investigation by the state and the family's attorneys. This story will be updated as more details emerge.
You may contact Kim Lane at (407) 877-2394 to express your dissatisfaction with her callous mismanagement and lack of candor.
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