Archive for the ‘Assisted Living’ Category

Life and Death in Assisted Living: "A Sinking Ship"

July 31, 2013

On Sept. 30, 2008, an employee at the Emerald Hills assisted living facility in Auburn, Calif., made an entry in a company computer log: “pressure ulcer/wound.”

Joan, who had spent just 19 days in the facility, had developed the wound on her foot. The fall eight days earlier had hospitalized her and left her with bruises and an abrasion on her right temple. This, though, could be much, much worse.

Pressure ulcers — also known as bed sores — can form when a person loses the ability to move about freely. Lying in bed or sitting in a chair for long stretches of time diminishes the blood flow to the skin, causing it to break down and die. A hole grows. If bacteria creep into the wound, the bugs can devour flesh or invade the blood and bones. Pressure ulcers can turn fatal, particularly in older people.

Because of the lethal potential of pressure ulcers, the federal government monitors them closely in the nursing home business. In the eyes of experts, the sores are often an indicator of poor care. Attentive caregivers can prevent many pressure sores by making sure that people don’t spend too much time in the same position.

“We know that most bed sores are avoidable,” said Kathryn Locatell, a forensic geriatrician who investigates allegations of elder abuse for California Department of Justice. “That is the consensus of experts in the field.”

Emerald Hills was supposed to contact Joan’s doctor when she developed the ulcer. But nobody from Emerald Hills called a doctor. No nurse came to salve Joan’s wound. And nobody told Joan’s relatives — her husband, Myron, who lived in the same facility, or her son who lived nearby — about the development.

Joan’s short, painful stay at Emerald Hills seemed to be accelerating her decline.

Full Article and Source:
Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “A Sinking Ship”

See Also:
Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “They’re Not Treating Mom Well”

Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “The Emerald City”

Life and Death in Assisted Living: They’re Not Treating Mom Well

July 30, 2013

When the ambulance crew arrived, about 8:20 p.m., Joan Boice was in the TV lounge, face-down on the carpet. Her head had struck the floor with some velocity; bruises were forming on her forehead and both cheeks. It appeared she’d lost her balance and fallen out of a chair.

But no one at the assisted living facility could say precisely how the accident had occurred. No one knew how long Joan had been splayed out on the floor. She had defecated and urinated on herself.
Worried that Joan might have injured her spine, the emergency medical personnel gently rolled her over and placed her on a back board. They pumped oxygen into her nostrils.

It was Sept. 22, 2008 — just 10 days after Joan had first moved into Emerald Hills.

No Emeritus employees accompanied Joan to the hospital. And even though Joan’s husband, Myron, was living in the facility, the Emeritus workers didn’t immediately alert him that Joan had fallen and hurt herself. Joan, confused, injured, and nearly mute, ended up in the local hospital by herself, surrounded by strangers.

California law requires assisted living companies to conduct a “pre-admission appraisal” of prospective residents, to ensure they are appropriate candidates for assisted living.

But Emerald Hills took Joan in without performing an appraisal. It wasn’t for lack of time. The Boices had signed the contract to live at Emerald Hills more than two weeks before Joan moved in.

Full Article and Source:
Life and Death in Assisted Living:  They’re Not Treating Mom Well

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Life and Death in Assisted Living: The Emerald City

Life and Death in Assisted Living: "The Emerald City"

July 29, 2013

Joan Boice needed help. Lots of it. Her physician had tallied the damage: Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, pain from a compression fracture of the spine. For Joan, an 81-year-old former schoolteacher, simply getting from her couch to the bathroom required the aid of a walker or wheelchair.

The Alzheimer’s, of course, was the worst. The disease had gradually left Joan unable to dress, eat or bathe without assistance. It had destroyed much of the complex cerebral circuitry necessary for forming words. It was stealing her voice.

Joan’s family was forced to do the kind of hard reckoning that so many American families must do these days. It was clear that Joan could no longer live at home. Her husband, Myron, simply didn’t have the stamina to provide the constant care and supervision she needed. And moving in with any of their three children wasn’t an option.

These were the circumstances that eventually led the Boice family to Emeritus at Emerald Hills, a sprawling, three-story assisted living facility off Highway 49 in Auburn, Calif. The handsome 110-bed complex was painted in shades of deep green and cream, reflecting its location on the western fringe of the craggy, coniferous Sierra Nevada mountain range. It was owned by the Emeritus Corp., a Seattle-based chain that was on its way to becoming the nation’s largest assisted living company, with some 500 facilities stretching across 45 states.

Emeritus at Emerald Hills promised state-of-the art care for Joan’s advancing dementia. Specially trained members of the staff would create an individual plan for Joan based on her life history. They would monitor her health, engage her in an array of physically and mentally stimulating activities, and pass out her 11 prescription medications, which included morphine (for pain) and the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel (given in hopes of curbing some of the symptoms of her Alzheimer’s). She would live in the “memory care” unit, a space designed specifically to keep people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia safe.

Full Article and Source:
Life and Death in Assisted Living:  The Emerald City

Columbus Nursing Home Operator Arrested — Nooner Has History Of Arrests, Tax Evasion

July 28, 2013

A Saltillo man who operates an assisted living facility in Columbus was arrested Thurs., July 18.
Dennis “Denny” Nooner Jr, of 198 Knight Drive, Saltillo, was arrested by deputies with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and charged with felony false pretense and driving with a suspended license. According to, Nooner is listed as the owner of the assisted living facility, Home Place, located at 208 Yorkville Road E. in Columbus.

The website for Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman shows Nooner as an officer for Columbus Home Place and Dogwood Home Place Assisted Living, LLC in Saltillo. Home Place in Columbus is listed as a dissolved LLC and Dogwood Home Place is listed as intent to dissolve the limited liability corporation.

 According to a spokesperson for the LCSO, Nooner was arrested for writing a fraudulent check in 2011 for $6,000. The check was written to Merchants Foodservice on an account at Renasant Bank.
Nooner was indicted November 1, 2012, by the Lowndes County Grand Jury for false pretense. Nooner was arrested in Lee County and extradited to Columbus where was booked into the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center. Nooner, 52, was released on a $5,000 bond.

Full Article and Source:
Columbus Nursing Home Operator Arrested — Nooner Has History Of Arrests, Tax Evasion

Coming up July 30 on Frontline: Life and Death in Assisted Living

July 21, 2013

More and more elderly Americans are choosing to spend their later years in assisted living facilities, which have sprung up as an alternative to nursing homes. But is this loosely regulated, multi-billion dollar industry putting seniors at risk? In a major investigation with ProPublica, FRONTLINE examines the operations of the nation’s largest assisted living company, raising questions about the drive for profits and fatal lapses in care.

Life and Death in Assisted Living

See Also:

READ chapter 3 of Joe Roubicek’s new book in progress, “KILL MOM, KILL DAD:  Disposing of the Elderly for Profit” on the subject of second generation drugs in nursing homes.

Financial Exploitation of the Elderly

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse: Wildwood Canyon Villa Staff Feed Narcotics to Helpless Resident

April 17, 2013

Investigations continue to find alarming  elder abuse  and egregious violations of California licensing regulations at Wildwood Canyon Villa, a San Bernardino County residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE). Documents obtained pursuant to subpoena show that resident Jean Swope was given the narcotic opioid drug oxycodone several times a day without physician instructions.

RCFEs are not medical facilities. The intent of these “assisted living” facilities is to provide residents with assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). RCFE staff can lawfully “assist with self-administration” of medication. But they cross the line when they administer drugs to a resident that cannot determine her need for a medication.

Wildwood Canyon Villa crossed that line many times. They often crossed that line multiple times in a single day.

Nurse’s Medication Notes for Jean Swope document that Wildwood staff administered the narcotic opioid Percocet (oxycodone plus acetaminophen) forty times in just ten days from September 20 – 29, 2011.
Wildwood LVN  Candi Hull testified that Wildwood sometimes obtained instructions from a physician for administration of medication. Sometime they did not obtain instructions. On no occasion did Wildwood maintain the required written documentation of instructions from Swope’s physician.

Med Aide April Pledger, a young caregiver with no high school diploma or medical training, testified that Wildwood Med Aides sometimes check with an LVN prior to administering medications. Sometimes Med Aides administer medication with no oversight whatsoever.

Pledger testified that Med Aides crush medication with a pill crusher, mix with pudding, and then, “We feed it to them.”

Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse:  Wildwood Canyon Villa Staff Feed Narcotics to Helpless Resident

Family Protests Placing Elderly Woman in Assisted Living

April 3, 2013

“Justice! We want justice! Free our grandmother! We want to take care of her!”

About 16 protesters outside the Whitfield County Courthouse Monday afternoon shouted and held signs to call attention to what they said was an unfair decision that resulted in an elderly family member being moved against her will into an assisted living facility.

Pam Akins said her mother-in-law, who is an Alzheimer’s patient, and the mother-in-law’s husband had lived with her and her husband, Marty, since October in their Dalton home. The Akins said caregivers sat with the older couple during the day when family members weren’t at home to watch them. Then other family members decided the woman would be better off in a nursing home, Akins said.

According to Akins, Probate Judge Sheri Blevins granted rights to those family members who have since placed the woman in professional care. That decision is under appeal.

Robert McCurry, an attorney for those family members, Greg and Rhonda Epperson, said guardianship and the best interest of the woman — not necessarily where she would live — was considered when Blevins rendered a decision March 1 after several hours of testimony. “The court heard from numerous witnesses, including a licensed neurologist (who) determined it was in (the woman’s) best interest that my client be named the guardian,” McCurry said.

Blevins declined comment because of state laws that prohibit the release of information about guardianship cases. “On pending cases, and unfortunately in this particular case, those records are sealed, and I’m not allowed to give any information at all,” Blevins said. “Hopefully an order will be coming out soon.”

Full Article and Source:
Family Protests Placing Elderly Woman in Assisted Living

Conservatorship Ward Wins Against Santa Clara County Public Guardian

April 1, 2013

Source: Elderly Woman Wins Case Over Public Guardian

ABC7’s First Investigative Report:

We’re told to protect our assets with things like living trusts and wills. But a case in Santa Clara County is raising questions about when our plans can be changed by someone else, possibly against our wishes.

In early February, 85-year-old Grace Alaimo was in a Santa Clara superior courtroom surrounded by people arguing over what she wants.

Family Member, County Face Off Over Woman’s Best Interests

See Also:
Repost:  ABC7 Investigates the Santa Clara County Public Guardian

Dramatic 9-1-1 Call: Nurse Refuses To Perform CPR On Collapsed Elderly Woman

March 8, 2013

An elderly woman died after staff at a senior living facility refused to perform CPR on her after she collapsed in a dining room.

On a 9-1-1 tape, a dispatcher pleads desperately with a nurse to encourage her or anyone at the facility to perform CPR on Lorraine Bayless, the 87-year-old resident who was struggling to breathe. Over seven minutes elapse between when the original call was made and paramedics arrive, but the nurse repeatedly refuses to perform CPR or have someone else on site attempt to resuscitate her. Bayless later died at a nearby hospital, according to a local NBC affiliate KGET.

The call is hard to listen to if you’re, like, a human. At one point Bakersfield Fire Dispatcher Tracey Halvorson pleads, “Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?” And the nurse can only muster up an awfully cold, bureaucratic response: “Not at this time.”

Bayless was a resident at Glenwood Gardens, a senior living facility in a relatively well-to-do area of Bakersfield. Although there is a skilled nursing and assisted living facility at the site, Bayless lived in the “independent living” section. KGET described as an “apartment complex for seniors.” There usually aren’t nurses in this area of the facility.

What might be the weirdest twist is that no one in this story—except for the dispatcher, of course—seems at all fazed by what happened to Bayless.

Glenwood’s executive director Jeffrey Toomer confirmed that the nurse was just following orders: “In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives. That is the protocol we followed.”

Full Article & Source:
Dramatic 9-1-1 Call: Nurse Refuses To Perform CPR On Collapsed Elderly Woman

Local woman sentenced in elder abuse case

February 13, 2013

Tulare County Superior Court Judge James Hollman sentenced 54-year-old Mary Louise Moore of Porterville to five years probation and 270 days in jail for felony elder abuse.

The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office said Friday that Moore was ordered to pay $18,781 in restitution and is prohibited from having firearms or ammunition and gambling, as she is now considered a convicted felon.

Moore must turn herself in to do her jail time by March 18, said Phil Esbenshada, superivision district attorney.

Moore was arrested in May of 2012 for taking approximately $28,000 from an 87-year-old woman who was in her care. According to police reports, detectives with the Porterville Police Department were contacted by the Tulare County Adult Protective Services alleging financial abuse that had been occurring since 2010.

The crime took place at an assisted living home in the 500 block of West Kanai Avenue, where Moore worked as a caregiver.

Full Article & Source:
Local woman sentenced in elder abuse case