The Palm Beach Post had an article about  nursing home neglect that really pissed me off.  The nursing home resident that was neglected was a bilateral amputee with bed sores on his stumps and buttocks.  When a state inspector saw him, he was sleeping unattended in a wheelchair on the front walkway of the Azalea Court nursing home in West Palm Beach.  She noticed a lit cigarette smoldering on a towel covering the resident’s left stump. A 1-inch hole had burned into the towel and the edges of the fabric were glowing red. “Smoke was actively rising from the towel,” according to the inspection report. The man had been labeled a “safe smoker.”  The patient had been found asleep with a lighted cigarette on prior occasions. Two weeks earlier, a nurse found the man sitting outside the facility, sleeping with a lit cigarette in his mouth.

The incidents reflect the nursing home’s “intentional or negligent failure to provide adequate and appropriate health care,” state officials said in a complaint that called for a $31,000 fine against Azalea Court. As part of a settlement agreement, the fine was lowered this year to $11,000.

Azalea Court was also fined $5,000 this year when after state inspectors last year found maggots crawling out of the leg cast of a resident. That fine was initially $10,000. Azalea Court has appealed both fines to an administrative law judge.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration also has cited Azalea staff last year for failing to respond to an alarm connected to the front door of the facility that signals if people are leaving the facility.  In addition inspectors interviewed six residents who said they were scared to voice grievances with the facility for fear of retribution.  This is a common complaint in most nursing homes.  Residents are scared that the care will get worse if they complain or get a nurse in trouble.

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