Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawyer

Health inspections conducted at certified facilities provide potential residents and their families a wealth of information regarding the safety of the facility’s residents. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides public access to health inspection reports online. Nursing home facilities are required to furnish reports upon request, as well. Below, you will find information from health inspections performed at the Brookdale Anderson nursing home facility over a three year period.

At Hughey Law Firm, we regularly fight for the rights of victims who were injured by care facilities that fall short of the standards their residents deserve. Of course, we cannot guarantee results in future cases, but we have successfully litigated claims against the Brookdale Anderson facility, bringing compensation to the people who suffered unnecessarily under its care.

About Brookdale Anderson

Brookdale Anderson in Anderson, South Carolina, is a small nursing facility offering 44 certified beds. The facility is owned by a for-profit corporation and is part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community. A Continuing Care Retirement Community consists of multiple facilities that provide varying levels of care. Residents of facilities within the community may transfer to different facilities depending on the level of care they require.

Brookdale Anderson offers both short-term stays as well as more extensive long-term care. Short-term stays of less than 100 days often provide care for patients who are transitioning from the hospital back home.

Typically, short-term care services are utilized by individuals recovering from a surgical procedure or a medical incident such as a heart attack or stroke. On the other hand, the long-term program provides 24-hour skilled nursing services to individuals who cannot live independently.

Quality measures take into account the past three health inspection reports, staffing levels, and data regarding pneumonia and flu vaccinations, pressure ulcer care, and fall prevention.

December 2016 Inspection

The health inspection conducted in December 2016 revealed one deficiency:

  • Failure to make sure each resident receives an accurate assessment by a qualified health professional. Based on record review and interviews, the facility’s staff failed to accurately code a resident assessment for behaviors. Additionally, the assessments of three residents relating to the patient’s medical condition were inaccurately coded. The assessments failed to indicate that the residents had chronic conditions or diseases that may result in a life expectancy of three months or less.

February 2018 Inspection

The February 2018 health inspection at Brookdale Anderson uncovered six deficiencies, including:

  • Failure to honor the resident’s right to a safe, clean, comfortable and homelike environment, including but not limited to receiving treatment and support for daily living safely. The inspection revealed that the facility failed to provide a homelike environment in two residence halls and the dining room. Problems with the environment included chipped and scuffed doors, damaged night stands in residence rooms, and stained chairs in the dining hall.
  • Failure to create and put into place a plan for meeting the resident’s most immediate needs within 48 hours of being admitted. It was discovered through record review and interviews that the baseline care plan for a resident failed to meet industry standards. The plan failed to include the use of anticoagulant medication or a prescribed respiratory machine during nighttime sleep and naps. Additionally, the plan had no mention of antibiotic therapy that the resident had been admitted on.
  • Failure to develop the complete care plan within 7 days of the comprehensive assessment; and prepared, reviewed, and revised by a team of health professionals. Observations, record reviews, and interviews determined that the facility staff failed to update the care plans of two residents. One care plan failed to indicate the use of geri sleeve catheter change; another failed to accurately assess fall risk or provide for consistent wheelchair use.
  • Failure to ensure that a nursing home area is free from accident hazards and provides adequate supervision to prevent accidents. Inspectors discovered that staff failed to provide ongoing and consistent interventions for a resident who had suffered multiple falls since admission to the facility.
  • Failure to provide the appropriate treatment and services to a resident who displays or is diagnosed with dementia. A review of records and interviews indicated that the facility staff failed to document specific behaviors and expressions of distress for a resident with dementia. Additionally, the care plan failed to address the patient’s desired outcomes.
  • Failure to procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory and store, prepare, distribute and serve food in accordance with professional standards. Inspectors discovered several issues in the facility’s kitchen. Problems included 38 cartons of expired milk, a box of bananas placed beneath the hand washing sink (where water dripped as employees dried their hands), and a buildup of grease and debris on appliances and surfaces. Additionally, staff were observed working without hair and beard covers and the food temperature monitor was repeatedly placed on unsanitary surfaces.

February 2019 Inspection

The February 2019 inspection of Brookdale Anderson resulted in three deficiencies, including:

  • Failure to provide timely notification to the resident, and if applicable to the resident representative and ombudsman, before transfer or discharge, including appeal rights. Based on record review and interviews, inspectors discovered that the facility failed to provide a copy of the transfer notice for a hospital stay to a resident’s representative.
  • Failure to develop the complete care plan within 7 days of the comprehensive assessment; and prepared, reviewed, and revised by a team of health professionals. Record review and interviews revealed that the facility staff failed to update a resident’s care plan to address his or her speech deficits.
  • Failure to procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory and store, prepare, distribute and serve food in accordance with professional standards. Observations and interviews uncovered several issues in the facility kitchen. For example, improper temperature for food refrigeration, dirty appliances, surfaces, and floor, and dirty utensils placed alongside clean ones. In addition, cooking staff were observed without proper hair coverings, without gloves on, and one server placed his hands in his apron pocket while plating food.

Fire Safety Inspections

To retain Medicare and Medicaid certification, Brookdale Anderson was also required to undergo fire safety and emergency preparedness inspections. The results of those inspections were as follows:

  • December 2016: The 2016 fire safety inspection revealed one deficiency. The facility failed to perform simulated fire drills held at unexpected times.
  • February 2018: There were two fire safety deficiencies found in the 2018 fire safety inspection at Brookdale Anderson. Those deficiencies included failure to install corridor and hallway doors that block smoke. As well as the failure to ensure smoke barriers are constructed to a one-hour fire resistance rating. The state average for fire safety deficiencies that year was 0.8.

Your Loved One Has Rights

The federal government has enacted laws that provide nursing home residents with rights. Facilities certified to accept Medicare/Medicaid residents are required to undergo annual inspections to ensure that those rights are upheld.

Some rights afforded to those residing in nursing homes include:

  • The right to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and discrimination.
  • The right to medical care, including the right to choose a physician and to decline medical treatments, participate in developing their care plan, and to be informed of any changes to physical condition.
  • The right to be treated with respect and dignity.
  • The right to have a representative informed of all transfers.
  • The right to be informed in advance of any changes of room assignment or roommates.
  • The right to participate in activities or to decline participation in activities.
  • The right to spend time with visitors whenever the resident chooses, as long as the visit doesn’t disturb other residents, and to decline visitors.
  • The right to manage one’s own finances.
  • The right to form or participate in resident groups.
  • The right to receive information about services and fees.
  • The right to have privacy and to have one’s own property.
  • The right to make complaints about treatment or conditions at the nursing home without the fear of retribution from staff.

The Changing Picture of Nursing Home Residents

According to a U.S. News report, between 1.4 and 1.5 million Americans live in long-term nursing home facilities. As the baby boom generation grows older, this number is only expected to increase. Nursing homes provide long-term care to elderly individuals who can no longer perform basic tasks on their own. Basic tasks may include eating and preparing meals, bathing and dressing, using the toilet, managing medications, moving around the residence, or necessary transportation.

Among Americans, it is a common misperception that nursing home occupants are predominantly individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. However, nearly 20 percent of nursing home residents in the United States suffer no cognitive impairment, and around a third only suffer mild cognitive impairment. Overall, fewer than 15 percent of nursing home residents are described as experiencing significant cognitive impairment.

In fact, not all nursing home residents are over 65 years old. Oftentimes, younger residents may utilize nursing home services if they have a condition or experience an injury that renders them unable to care for themselves. Other residents may be placed in an assisted-care facility for a transitory period following a surgery or a medical incident, such as a heart attack or stroke. Overall, most nursing home residents have at least one chronic condition requiring ongoing medical care, including frequent falls.

An Important Decision

Selecting a nursing home facility for your loved one is one of the major decisions you will make in your life. Most importantly, a cherished family member’s safety and wellbeing are on the line. The ability to retain or provide a positive quality of life to that individual hinges on proper placement. Nursing home care is not cheap, either. The median cost of a private room at a skilled nursing facility is more than $8,300 per month. Generally, Medicare does not cover long-term care. Therefore, individuals are required to pay for the expenses of services out-of-pocket, through private insurance policies, or through Medicaid.

Choosing which nursing home will best serve your loved one is an extremely important decision. Family members are strongly encouraged to compare facilities in their region, take tours, ask questions, and speak to current residents and their family members about their personal experiences. Gut instinct is a powerful tool when it comes to evaluating nursing homes. If a facility does not feel right to you, it probably will not be right for your loved one either.

But just as you shouldn’t solely rely on health inspection reports when making your decision, your gut instinct should not be the sole deciding factor, either. You should ask questions about the type of care your loved one will receive, the type of training the staff at the facility has obtained, and the turnover rates of staff members. In addition, inquire about a resident’s ability to make independent choices while living at the facility.

Did You or Your Loved One Suffer Abuse or Negligence at Brookdale Anderson

If your loved one was abused or neglected at a South Carolina nursing home, contact Hughey Law Firm for a free consultation and case evaluation today. We have fought for the rights of injured people for years, recovering millions of dollars for our clients, including nursing home residents. We have taken on Brookdale Anderson before, and we are willing to do so again if it means protecting the most vulnerable people in our society.

Call us now at (843) 881-8644 or send us a message for your free consultation, and we’ll see how we can help you.

Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Phone: 843-881-8644