Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawyer
As the baby boomer generation ages, more and more people across the nation are faced with the excruciating decision of placing their aging parents in a skilled nursing facility. When aging adults can no longer live independently, the level of care they require may become more than family caregivers can provide.
Some individuals may opt to hire a live-in caregiver when they can no longer provide the necessary care. When able, many people choose to allow aging parents to reside with them at home. However, as degenerative aging processes progress, additional care and supervision may require placement in a skilled nursing facility, or nursing home.
In selecting a skilled nursing facility for an aging loved one, family members must take steps to ensure they will receive adequate care and protection. One tool that can help in the facility selection process is health inspection reports. Medicare provides public access to reports of facilities that are certified Medicare/Medicaid providers. Below you will find the results of these reports from one local nursing home, Brookdale Greenville.
If you or a loved one suffered abuse or neglect in the care of Brookdale Greenville, give us a call. We have already helped people just like you—Hughey Law Firm has brought claims against many nursing homes and secured compensation to pay for the damages it has inflicted on their residents. We stand ready to help you, too.
About Brookdale Greenville
Brookdale Greenville is a small nursing home facility that provides 45 certified beds. The facility is within a Continuing Care Retirement Community, which consists of several facilities that provide varying levels of care. Residents of the Community have the opportunity to transfer to neighboring facilities as their needs change. The facility serves short-stay residents who are typically transitioning from the hospital back to their homes. Many short-stay residents are recovering from surgical procedures of medical incidents, such as a heart attack or stroke. The facility also provides long-term care to those who no longer can live independently.
The facility’s Medicare profile exposes several deficiencies.
March 2017 Inspection
Twelve deficiencies were discovered during the March 2017 health inspection at Brookdale Greenville. Among those deficiencies were the:
- Failure to protect each resident from all abuse, physical punishment, and being separated from others. In citing the facility deficient in this area, the inspector noted the facility’s failure immediately jeopardized a resident’s health and safety. A November 2017 complaint inspection revealed there was a formal complaint filed regarding the incidents of abuse.
- Failure to provide medically related social services to help each resident achieve the highest possible quality of life. The facility failed to ensure that arrangements were made for a resident to enable their attendance of scheduled medical appointments.
- Failure to assist those residents who need total help with eating/drinking, grooming, and personal and oral hygiene. Facility staff failed to assist a resident who needed extensive physical assistance with personal grooming matters.
- Failure to make sure that the nursing home area is free from accident hazards and risks and provides supervision to prevent avoidable accidents. Facility staff failed to provide interventions to avoid falls for a resident who was admitted with a high risk of falls. The resident was observed with bruising and reddening on the arm, a scar down the middle of the forehead, nose, and side of the face. The patient’s injuries resulted from falls at the facility. A record review indicated that there were missing documents related to the falls, including a Complete Falls Investigation Worksheet.
- Failure to dispose of garbage and refuse properly. Observation of the facility’s kitchen area revealed that a bin containing recycled cooking grease had a large, slippery puddle surrounding it. A staff member stated that he/she thought the old grease bin was leaking. There was no documentation to indicate that the facility had plans to replace the grease bin before the survey.
- Failure to provide routine and 24-hour emergency dental care for each resident. A resident was observed with cracked, broken, and missing teeth. There was no documentation indicating that routine dental services were offered or provided to a specific resident. After interviewing a staff member, inspectors discovered the facility did not have a contracted dental services provider.
- Failure to keep all essential equipment working safely. The inspection revealed a facility resident’s adjustable bed was malfunctioning. The resident could not position the bed in a fully reclined position. Staff attempted to force the mechanical bed to lay flat and couldn’t do so, as it was not working properly.
- Failure to provide bedrooms that don’t allow residents to see each other when privacy is needed. It was discovered during the inspection that the privacy curtains in 17 resident bedrooms were not long enough to fully extend around window beds. As such, the curtains failed to provide full visual privacy for residents with window beds.
- Failure to keep accurate, complete and organized clinical records on each resident that meet professional standards. The facility failed to ensure that medical records of residents were accurately and completely documented. One resident’s medical record had inconsistencies regarding physical functioning. Another resident’s record had no documentation available for a follow-up podiatry visit.
- Failure to conduct initial and periodic assessments of each resident’s functional capacity. The deficiency was found to have placed a resident’s health and safety in immediate jeopardy. This deficiency resulted from a complaint inspection that took place in November of 2017.
- Failure to allow the resident the right to participate in the planning or revision of the resident’s care plan. The deficiency was found to have placed a resident’s health and safety in immediate jeopardy. This deficiency was also the result of the complaint inspection that took place in November of 2017.
- Failure to make sure that the nursing home area is free from accident hazards and risks and provides supervision to prevent avoidable accidents. This deficiency was discovered upon completion of a complaint inspection in November of 2017. The inspector determined that the deficiency placed the health and safety of a resident in immediate jeopardy.
In November 2017, the facility was fined $100,000 and was denied payment by Medicare for violations discovered during a complaint inspection. In 2017, the average number of deficiencies at South Carolina nursing homes was 6.1 per facility. The national average was 7.6 per facility.
May 2018 Inspection
The May 2018 inspection revealed two deficiencies:
- Failure to immediately tell the resident, the resident’s doctor, and a family member of situations (injury/decline/room, etc.) that affect the resident. The facility staff failed to inform the resident representative in a timely manner that the resident’s surgical incision had become infected. The resident representative was informed of the situation three days after the infection was discovered.
- Failure to implement gradual dose reductions(GDR) and non-pharmacological interventions, unless contraindicated, before initiating or instead of continuing psychotropic medication; and PRN orders for psychotropic medications are only used when the medication is necessary and PRN use is limited. The facility staff failed to provide a documented reason for continuing to provide a resident medication beyond the 14 day treatment as prescribed. Additionally, staff failed to follow a physician’s instructions to reduce the dosage of a medication for another patient, and instead provided an increased dose in error.
March 2019 Inspection
Brookdale Greenville’s inspection in March 2019 revealed three deficiencies:
- Failure to ensure that a nursing home area is free from accident hazards and provides adequate supervision to prevent accidents. Three residents did not have complete fall assessments, and that the facility failed to provide a wanderguard for another resident who was at risk for elopement. The three residents who did not have complete fall assessments all experienced falls. The resident at risk of elopement had previously had a wanderguard bracelet. However, when the resident was hospitalized, the bracelet was removed. Upon readmission to the facility, facility staff failed to replace the bracelet.
- Past noncompliance – remedy proposed. The facility failed to follow a doctor’s orders regarding fluid restriction and renal diet for a resident. The resident was observed multiple times drinking orange juice despite instructions that juice should not be provided to residents with his or her medical condition. An interview with the director of nursing revealed that the order had not been entered into the computer. As a result, the staff could not provide effective patient monitoring. The certified dietary manager noted that the dining staff was merely honoring the wishes of an alert resident who requested orange juice. The dietary manager stated that he or she had advised the resident that the juice was not recommended for his or her medical condition.
- Failure to procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory and store, prepare, distribute and serve food in accordance with professional standards. The facility’s kitchen had unlabeled foods missing dates, multiple expired foods, and trash on the floors and inside the walk-in refrigerator and food area. The surfaces of ovens and stoves were observed to be covered with a build-up of food debris. In addition, there was food storage contamination because flowers were stored in the refrigerator along with food.
Fire Safety Inspections
The fire safety inspections that were conducted along with the health inspections revealed the following deficiencies:
- March 2017 Inspection: Brookdale Greenville was found to have one fire safety deficiency—the facility failed to ensure proper usage of power strips and extension cords.
- May 2018 Inspection: The facility was found deficient for failure to have simulated fire drills held at unexpected times.
You and Your Loved One Have Rights
Nearly 1.6 million individuals reside in nursing homes across the United States. Unfortunately, those individuals are at risk of abuse and neglect every single day. In recent years, the federal government has developed a list of legal rights that must be afforded to nursing home residents. All residents have a right to freedom from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Other rights include:
- The right to make one’s own decision (when possible). Residents may choose their physicians, accept or decline medical treatment, and determine whether visitors may accompany them. Additionally, residents have the right to choose what time they wake up and go to bed, as well as which activities they would like to participate in.
- The right to be informed of pending transfers, room changes, or changes in roommates.
- The right to access medical care, dental care, and pharmacy services.
- The right to have an accurate assessment and individualized care plan and to participate in the development of that care plan.
- The right to be treated with respect, free from discrimination, and free from the use of physical or chemical restraints.
- The right to manage one’s own money.
- The right to form and participate in resident groups.
- The right to receive information regarding services and fees.
- The right to make complaints about the facility or the staff without fear of retribution.
Unfortunately, abuse and neglect of nursing home residents are far too common. Some studies suggest that the abuse and neglect of older people in American nursing homes are equally as widespread as child abuse. The majority of research regarding elder abuse is focused on incidence, causes, and risk factors within the home or the community.
The research on understanding the prevalence of abuse occurring in nursing facilities is incomplete. However, this population of elderly individuals has the highest risk of abuse. Residents of skilled nursing facilities are particularly vulnerable due to deficiencies in physical and cognitive functioning. Oftentimes, residents are completely dependent on facility operators for food, shelter, medical care, dental care, and assistance with nearly every aspect of caring for themselves.
Hughey Law Firm’s Nursing Home Lawyers Can Enforce Your Rights
If your loved one was abused or neglected at Brookdale Greenville or any South Carolina nursing home, let us help you understand your legal options. Our skilled, compassionate nursing home attorneys have never shied away from fighting even the biggest nursing homes when they have abused or neglected the vulnerable people in their care. We want to help protect you and your loved one, and cover the costs associated with the harm you all have suffered.
Contact Hughey Law Firm today for a free consultation and case evaluation. You can reach us at (843) 881-8644 or message us through our contact page.
Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464