North Carolina has substantiated claims that a nursing home mistreated a resident after a daughter secretly recorded staff insulting her father. Knapton said she placed a camera in her father’s room after he told her that staff routinely insulted him. She also suspected she wasn’t being told about all the times her father, who had had a stroke, had fallen out of bed. The hidden camera Rebecca Knapton placed in her father’s room at Universal Health Care/North Raleigh captured staff belittling him after he had fallen out of bed and was calling for help.
ichard Johnson, 68, is recovering from a stroke, and video from the hidden camera shows that he fell out of his bed early on April 10. It took more than an hour for staff to respond, and they berated him when they did.
“Man, you stink,” one worker told Richard Johnson as he lay on the floor. He told them he fell trying to get to the bathroom. One worker told the 68-year-old that he shouldn’t complain about lying on the cold floor.
“You were on the bed, you decided to go on the floor, so that’s your fault,” one worker said. “You decided to go on the floor, so don’t complain that it’s cold.”
“How old are you? You’re supposed to be enjoying your retirement. Instead, look what you are doing, pooping on yourself. Shame on you,” a staff member says.
At one point a worker told him that his suffering was his own fault. “You must have done something really, really bad,” she said.
Knapton said her father told her, “they talked down to him, they treat him mean, they call him names, they fuss all the time.”
A state investigation triggered by Knapton’s complaint pointed out problems with the care of other patients.
According to documents Knapton received, surveyors for the state Division of Health Service Regulation interviewed staff and residents and reviewed document at the nursing home from April 10-15.
One patient complained of chest pain for two days, but there was no indication that he received nitroglycerin as the doctor ordered, according to the state report. The man was sent to the hospital on the second day. Hospital records show a nurse saw him at 1:30 p.m. in the emergency room, and that he died about four hours later. However, a nurse’s record at the nursing home had the man leaving for the hospital at 7 p.m.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will initiate enforcement action and notify the facility.
Steven Bryant recorded a recent visit he made to Universal Healthcare of Lillington to see his 82-year-old mother. Sudie Bryant had complained of the care she had been receiving, he said, so he wanted to document what happened while he was there. Sudie had been lying in a puddle of urine for so long that it had turned brown.
“Sir, I’ll be honest with you. We’ve been doing our best,” an aide said. “It’s just two [aides] in this hall, and honestly, we’re doing the best we can.”
As one aide leaves to get an administrator, the other explains staff cutbacks are the problem.
“I am glad that you are here to see it because we tell them time and time again that it’s too much, too much,” she said. “They don’t listen to us. We need the families to complain. We need families to see how it really is.”
Choice Health Management Services has 16 facilities in North Carolina, most operated under the Universal Healthcare brand. Medicare has levied fines totaling $567,976 for problems at six of the facilities since 2015.
Universal Healthcare Fuquay-Varina topped the list, with $234,260 in fines, followed by Universal Healthcare Lillington, with fines of $151,483. Universal Healthcare North Raleigh was fined $31,186 two years ago, the smallest fine against any of the six facilities.
The Raleigh facility has a history of repeat federal violations for insufficient staffing and failing to answer patients’ call bells in a timely manner.
The fines assessed against the three Universal Healthcare facilities in the Triangle combined to top the $246,000 in fines Medicare levied against 22 other nursing homes within a 25-mile radius of Raleigh in the past three years.
The incident at Universal Healthcare Lillington, where a man recently recorded a video showing improper care for his mother, involved a patient infested with maggots.
A doctor from an outside clinic found “maggots living in a wound on the resident’s foot” when he removed the patient’s shoes, according to a report. An aide at Universal Healthcare told investigators she discovered the maggots the previous day and went “screaming out of the room” without taking further action.
Universal Healthcare of Fuquay-Varina was fined after a resident at risk for wandering walked out the front door and across the parking lot. Inspectors checked all of the bracelets worn by at-risk patients to alert staff if they were about to wander off and found that none of them worked, according to a report.
“That’s ridiculous,” Powell said when he heard about the issues at Universal Healthcare facilities. “I am at a loss for words. I got to find a place to move my mom.”
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