Alta Mesa Health & Rehabilitation Cited for Neglect and Wandering Banner

Alta Mesa Health & Rehabilitation Cited for Neglect and Wandering

A report by the HHS and CMS claim that Alta Mesa Health & Rehabilitation are at fault for several violations, including neglect and wandering.

Failure to honor the resident’s right to and the facility must promote and facilitate resident self-determination through support of resident choice. (F 0561)

The facility failed to offer residents the right to choose the time that they get out of bed in the morning. Two residents claimed to be routinely awoken as early as 3am for the nursing assistant to get her dressed, only to put her back to bed until breakfast at 7am.

Changing regular sleep patterns can seriously impair a resident’s mental and physical wellbeing. This went against facility policy which says the resident has a right to choose schedules consistent with preferences.

Failure to protect each resident from all types of abuse such as physical, mental, sexual abuse, physical punishment, and neglect by anybody (F 0600); Failure to respond appropriately to all alleged violations. (F 0610)

The facility failed to protect a resident from the abuse by another resident who was repeatedly wandering into other resident’s rooms, set off emergency alarms, demonstrated aggressive behavior and slapped another resident. The incidents were documented and interventions were attempted but it seemed that the behavior was ongoing.

The facility failed to ensure that a prompt and thorough investigation was completed for this incident, which could result in further abuse incidents.

Failure to protect each resident from the wrongful use of the resident’s belongings or money (F 0602); Failure to ensure services provided by the nursing facility meet professional standards of quality (F 0658); Failure to ensure drugs and biologicals used in the facility are labeled in accordance with currently accepted professional principles. (F 0761)

Medications belonging to multiple residents medication and corresponding documentation went missing. The facility could not state for certain what happened to the missing medications, as no concrete proof could be found.

The facility failed to ensure that professional standards were followed during medication administration. In one instance, a staff member crushed an extended release medication, and in another, a nurse left medications by a resident’s bedside.

The facility failed to ensure that 1 of 2 medication carts was locked when unattended. The deficient practice could result in misappropriation of resident medication.

Any of these instances could result in harm, such as a patient not receiving their medication dose, or a patient overdosing on medication, but in this case it did not.

Failure to procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory and store, prepare, distribute and serve food in accordance with professional standards. (F 0812)

Improperly labelled and sealed foods were found on the premises, which could lead to foodborne illness.

Failure to safeguard resident-identifiable information and/or maintain medical records on each resident that are in accordance with accepted professional standards. (F 0842)

The facility repeatedly failed to accurately document Restorative Nursing services provided to residents, despite physician orders.

Corrective action involved reviewing the Maintenance of Active Medical Records policy, which confirmed that the facility is to maintain updated and complete medical records, and a review of the Restorative Nursing Documentation policy, which explained how to set up services electronically.

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse takes Many Forms

Abuse Between Residents

Resident on resident assault may include verbal, physical or sexual abuse, as well as other incidents which may not include direct physical contact like gestures or destruction of property. Cognitive impairment can be particularly difficult to manage as it can lead to violence and aggression, and staff must be trained and procedures in place to consistently prevent this from occurring.

All residents have the right to be free from all forms of abuse and neglect per the Nursing Home Reform Act, and nursing homes should have their own policies reflecting this.

Regarding the abuse incident above, facility policy exists stating:

“Residents must not be subjected to abuse by anyone, including, but not limited to, location employees, other residents, consultants or volunteers, employees of other agencies serving the resident, family members or legal guardians, friends or other individuals.”

Nursing homes have prevention procedures in place such as regular patient assessments, removal of the resident from the home and separating the resident from others.

Wandering (Elopement)

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia may get confused and wander away. If a home is improperly staffed, staff does not have training, or the facility is not set up to handle this, wandering can result in injuries like falls and even death. If a patient wanders repeatedly, it may constitute neglect.

Failure of the Nursing Home to Investigate and Report Incidents

Unfortunately there have been cases where nursing homes fail to investigate incidents if they feel the need to cover it up. That’s why it’s important that all incidents of alleged abuse are reported quickly and follow the proper processes — a failure to do so could be an error, but it could also be a red flag.

Protect Your Loved Ones From Nursing Home Neglect

Reviewing a resident’s records regularly and checking in with key administrators and staff are essential parts of due diligence.

If you are concerned about a nursing home’s records, or you’ve become aware of neglect or abuse, we can help answer your questions. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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