Families fight to keep the state from moving displaced Alzheimer's patients

- Last month's deadly tornado outbreak left dozens of families in limbo, with loved ones moved from a damaged nursing home to another facility. Now, about 40 Alzheimer’s patients may be forced to move again.

FOX 4 first brought you this story on Monday. Since then, more concerned family members have come forward -- while state and federal agencies decide if the patients can stay at a temporary facility in Garland.

Karen Pavlik’s mother-in-law is one of 43 Alzheimer’s patients who were forced to evacuate form the Rowlett Health and Rehab Center last month due to the tornado damage.

The women have been staying at another facility, but may be moved again due to regulations. Pavlik truly believes another move could quite literally kill her mother-in-law.

"When I lay down at night I literally see their faces, l literally see their faces,” she said.

The women and their staff were taken to Winters Park -- an assisted living facility owned by the same company.

The Department of Aging and Disability Services is working with the provider and federal regulators to determine if the patients can stay there until the facility is fixed.

“There are issues we have to look at related to staffing requirements, pharmaceutical services and even building requirements that differ for nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” said Cecilia Cavuto, a DADS spokeswoman.

But the families want the women to stay put. Pavlik contacted Senator John Cornyn, Governor Greg Abbott and a leading Alzheimer’s Dr. Diana Kerwin. She believes the women should be granted a waiver to stay put, in light of the unforeseen circumstance.

“To have that be drastically changed we often see patients with dementia really decline and have set backs during his time,” Dr. Kerwin said.

Pavlik can't bear to see that happen to her mother-in-law or the other patients.

“I want to be able to, if God forbid this doesn't go in their favor, to look them in the face and let them know I tried. They deserve that,” she said.

There is still no word on when a decision could be made. The DADS spokeswoman said if the women have to be moved, it would be within the Motorplex.

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