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My father lived for more than four years at the end of his life at an assisted living facility in Palm Harbor. He received excellent and compassionate services in a setting that was safe and properly supervised. That same facility has now been shut down by state officials because of health and safety violations. What could have caused the changes at the Long Shadow Inn in the years since my father’s passing?

The answer probably lies in the ownership. While my father resided at the Inn the owners were a dedicated couple who came to America from a communist country and worked 24-7 to make a difference in the lives of the their residents. They virtually lived at the Inn and put the welfare of the residents ahead of profits. Sadly, for the residents, they sold the facility to persons who appear to have other priorities.

From the St. Pete Times:

A surprise fire drill uncovers numerous health and safety violations at Long Shadow Inn in Palm Harbor.

PALM HARBOR – State officials closed an assisted living facility here Thursday due to numerous health and safety violations, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Long Shadow Inn, 2275 Nebraska Ave., was closed by Attorney General Charlie Crist’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit as part of its Operation Spot Check Program. Through the program, authorities conduct unannounced checks to determine whether nursing homes and adult living facilities are in compliance.

The surprise drill began at Long Shadow Inn about 9:30 a.m., said Mark Snow, deputy chief for Palm Harbor Fire and Rescue.

About 15 people from the fraud unit, local law enforcement and various state agencies entered the facility and notified the staff that a fire drill was about to take place, said Snow, who was part of the investigation.

The facility staff could not produce a disaster plan that showed how they would evacuate the 33 residents, Snow said.

During the evacuation, four residents were never removed from the premises and several others remained trapped on the second floor, according to reports.

Instead of employing the standard practice of taking residents out the rear of the facility, the staff exited through the front of the building, where firetrucks would normally be staged, Snow said.

“They didn’t seem prepared for what to do in a case of evacuation,” Snow said.

“That was our concern. That was the deciding factor to taking the residents out. It didn’t seem like they were able to care for the people in the event of an emergency.”

The facility’s administrators were notified by the Agency for Health Care Administration less than five weeks ago that it was out of compliance for poor conditions, according to reports.

The investigation was initiated after the Department of Children and Families and the Patient Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Project received complaints.

Other safety violations found during the surprise inspection included employees with open wounds on their hands preparing food, a sewage problem and lack of soap for residents, according to reports.

The team also found unlicensed staffers dispensing medication.

Zlata Campara, the facility’s owner, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The 33 elderly residents who lived at Long Shadow Inn are being relocated by the Department of Children and Families.

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