A resident who developed a serious pressure ulcer allegedly due to negligence at a Pennsylvania continuing care retirement community is suing the operator, claiming it purposely misrepresented its care capabilities.

The “false advertising” claim has sent ripples through the healthcare provider community. Many long-term care stakeholders are monitoring the case closely.

Lois Johnson-Hamerman was admitted to the Watermark at Logan Square community in Philadelphia in November 2012, needing wound care and rehabilitation for cellulitis on her foot, according to the legal journal Pennsylvania Record.

A complaint filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Johnson-Hamerman alleges that Watermark did not provide adequate foot care, properly dispense medications or turn her every two hours to relieve pressure on her skin, as her care plan reportedly called for. 

The ultimate result was her transfer to a hospital for a Stage IV pressure ulcer, the complaint reads.

According to Johnson-Hamerman, and her husband Conrad, she began to form a pressure ulcer on her back within two days after arriving at Watermark. Five weeks later, her family requested that she be transferred to Pennsylvania Hospital. She stayed there for nearly a month,  until January 2013, receiving treatment for a Stage IV ulcer, according to the complaint.

Watermark, therefore, did not provide the skilled nursing services it said it could deliver in promotional materials, the plaintiff claims. 

The Watermark at Logan Square website says that the community offers independent living, personal care, memory care and skilled nursing care.

An operating partner of the Arizona-based The Freshwater Group, Watermark reportedly has petitioned to move the case to federal court.