The Minnesota Star-Tribune reported that an assisted-living facility is being held responsible for the death of a resident who suffered head injuries from a fall and received no medical attention for days afterward.

The Health Department’s investigative report says that Lighthouse of Columbia Heights “failed to report changes” in the resident’s condition to a nurse and “failed to seek medical attention in a timely manner” after the resident fell in November 2011 and developed a sizable bump on one side of her head and a smaller one on the other side.

The resident was hospitalized three days later before dying on Dec. 5.  Her death certificate concluded the fall caused her death.  In citing the center for neglect, the report noted that the facility had no registered nurse available for unlicensed staffers to call after hours in the event of changes in residents’ conditions.

In an article from The Daytona Beach News-Journal, it was reported that the Avante nursing home in Ormond Beach, Florida, has been “placed on a federal watch list of problematic nursing homes” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  If the home does not show any drastic improvement in its treatment of patients, it will become liable to fines and the termination of its Medicare and Medicaid payments or both programs.  Avante has been called “‘the nursing home hall of shame’” by Brian Lee, the executive director of Families for Better Care, which is an advocacy group for nursing home residents. For a considerable length of time, the home has had a steady stream of persistent and grave issues. One of these issues includes a sexual assault allegation which was neither reported nor investigated thoroughly. An Avante resident claimed that an “employee climbed into bed with her roommate”, but the roommate contradicted the truth of that statement.  Both the director and the attorney of Avante refused to comment.  However, investigators came to the conclusion that this cursory inspection revealed residents to be in peril.

People should take notice of this fact because there are only six nursing homes in Florida, out of about seven hundred, which are considered to be the subject of alert attention by the federal authorities.  Since the nursing home has been placed on the list, it will now become the focus of inspection twice as often as other nursing homes. Brian Lee has commented that nursing homes have no authority to officially “determine whether abuse occurred”, and that authorities should have been summoned.

Another of these issues involved the essential care of a resident.  Back in February, a man on a feeding tube vomited three times within a two-day period, yet his doctor received no notification of this incident, despite his request for such information in a treatment plan. On the third day, staff members found the man unresponsive and quickly rushed him to a hospital, where he was declared to be dead.  This man had not received proper care and attention.  The residents themselves, as well as their family members recently stated there are not enough staff members to provie the care needed.

The estate of Pauline Cook, a resident killed at OakBridge Terrace, a Rock Hill assisted living home is suing the home and two employees.  The Herald of Rock Hill reports that the lawsuit says the crime could have been prevented.  Cook was found dead in her shower in November at OakBridge Terrace. Her death came the day after she reported to staff and police that someone had been forging her checks.  The lawsuit accuses ACTS Retirement-Life Communities of wrongful death, negligence and misconduct. The suit also says the home’s resident nursing director and a cook knew about the alleged thefts and could have stopped her from killing Cook.

Employee Braquette Walton was arrested and charged with Cook’s death. Police said the nurse’s aide later confessed to killing Cook and trying to cover up the crime. Walton faces several charges including murder and burglary, and she is being held without bail in the York County jail.

Prosecutor Kevin Brackett said at Walton’s bond hearing in December that Walton used her work badge to enter the building, hid from security cameras and employees in an unused room and called a nursing station at least seven times in an attempt to get into Cook’s room unnoticed. She’s accused of smothering Cook and then dragging her to the shower and leaving the water running in an effort to make it look like Cook accidentally fell.

 

The Des Moines Register reported the tragic story of a mentally handicapped woman who was repeatedly raped over a five day period in a care facility. One suspect admitted to the rapes.  She was allegedly raped several times between June 11 and June 15 at the Fairview Care Facility. According to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, the woman’s account of what happened is supported by the records of the facility and the recollections of the nursing staff.

The three men charged in the case, each with a past history of violent crime, had been ordered by the court to live at the Fairview facility.   The facility’s head-count records show the woman and the three suspects could not be located during the time some of the alleged attacks occurred. The workers at the home told the state inspectors that they failed to search the basement of the facility after it was determined the four were missing.

The Department of Inspections and Appeals has cited the facility for failing to protect residents from harm and imposed a $5,000 fine — half the maximum allowable penalty.

 

There have been numerous media outlets including WSPA that have discussed the incident involving an assisted living resident who died because of the neglect of the home. The Laurens County Coroner concluded that the resident died of heat stroke at an assisted living facility should not have been allowed to sit in the sun for hours.

Frances Louise Farmer, 67, died from symptoms of heat stroke, according to Coroner Nick Nichols after finding Farmer unresponsive in a chair outside the facility.  Farmer was a resident at La Forrest Community Care, an assisted living facility   Paramedics arrived at 1:13pm,  Farmer’s body temperature was 107.8 degrees.  The temperature on that day was over 90 degrees.  Farmer was in the sun "for at least a couple of hours, based on statements given by different witnesses.

Nichols says Farmer had heat blisters all over her upper body and upper legs. “I’m not saying this was anything beyond an accident, but I also wonder how someone who is known to be on this type of medication could be allowed to sit outside in the hot sun for two hours without a nurse or someone making them come inside," says Nichols.

The State Law Enforcement Division confirms it is investigating the death along with the Department of Health and Environmental Control, which has oversight of all registered residential care facilities. No charges have been filed yet and knowing the competency and enforcement history of DHEC, none will be filed.