Assault Occurred After Nursing Home Cited By State For Failure to Protect Residents
A month prior to one nursing home's employe being charged with felony caretaker abuse, the state's investigators cited that nursing home for failing to protect its residents from abuse, records show.
A review by a local newspaper also shows several nursing homes in the vicinity that are linked by co-ownership issues have been repeatedly cited for serious problems.
In February, health inspectors cited the nursing home in question for failure to have an effective system "to screen for, prevent, identify, report and investigate abuse," according to a state investigative report.
A 31-year-old male certified nurse assistant was charged March 26 with two felony counts of caretaker abuse and a misdemeanor charge of verbal abuse, which stemmed from his work at the nursing home.
Shortly after the state's February report, an individual who has an ownership interest in the home notified residents in a letter that the home would close, giving them 90 days to find new homes. The last resident moved out of the home on April 4.
"We typically do not go back to a facility until they indicate they are closed or their 90-day relocation time has lapsed, which will not be until June 5," said the chief of long-term care for the State Department of Health.
The CNA's arrest is the most public sign of trouble at the facility, although the facility has been plagued by problems for years.
Several patient's families have filed civil lawsuits against the nursing home for neglect and wrongful death, court records show.
Among those, a March 2007 lawsuit alleges a resident was assaulted by a nursing home employee described only as "John Doe" in the lawsuit. That case, as most others, has not yet been resolved, court records show.
The former director of nursing at the nursing home resigned her position at another home owned by the same consortium in January because she said the home was not managed properly.
"There weren't enough people," she said of the staffing situation. "If you don't have enough staff, the residents are not going to get the care they need. Families of the residents noticed and came to me asking why there wasn't enough staff."
She said a regional administrator told nursing home staff last October that the facility was "in dire straits financially."
Meanwhile, at least two companies that contracted services for homes in this ownership group have pulled out because of unpaid bills.
The owner of a nursing staffing company said her company has provided nursing services to the nursing home for four years.
"My nurses came back with all kinds of stories about [the nursing home] hiding things, like resident falls or injuries. They didn't report them to the state. They tried to hide them," she said. For more, read the story.
This story illustrates in so many ways the systemic problems in mismanaged nursing home facilities. There are so many resources available for families considering a nursing home placement. Each facility that is considered should be researched thoroughly. After placement, there is no substitute for frequent visits and questioning practices that do not seem to be appropriate for the residents.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.
Posted on Tue, April 14, 2009
by Robert Carter