The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has completed its investigation of neglect concerns at the Hugo GW LLC, a assisted living facility in Hugo, Minnesota. A complaint was filed with the MDH alleging that neglect of supervision occurred, when Client #1 hit and pushed down Client #2, causing injury to her/his arms and knuckles. Facility is aware of this, but does not have protocols in place to prevent reoccurrence.
The MDH investigated the matter and found that based on the preponderance of evidence, neglect of supervision occurred when staff failed to reassess Client #1’s aggressive behaviors in a timely manner and implement interventions to assist in keeping the clients of the facility safe. Client #1 had aggressive behaviors towards staff and other clients. Client #2 was oriented to person with forgetfulness and had some impaired decision-making. The facility staffed three unlicensed staff persons to pass medications and assist with personal care on the day and evening shifts.
Client #1 went into Client #2’s room and attempted to take Client #2’s walker. Client #2 screamed for help and pushed the walker towards Client #1 in attempt to get Client #1 to leave his/her room. Client #1 threw Client #2’s walker aside, grabbed Client #2’s arm and hit Client #2 in the head knocking Client #2’s eyeglasses off.
Staff arrived and the clients were separated. Client #2 was noted to have bruises on his/her right forearm on top of the right hand. Four of four staff stated they were not aware of plan/interventions to keep Client #1 and the other clients of the facility safe when Client #1 became aggressive, except for administering a p.r.n. antipsychotic medication to Client #1, which at times was not effective. The registered nurse was not informed of the recent incident between Client #1 and Client #2 until two days after the incident occurred. Hospitalization of Client #1 occurred.
The MDH determined that the facility is responsible for neglect of the facility’s resident. [Case no. HL23369005]
In a pbs.org article, it was stated that assisted living facilities, dreamed up three decades ago as a less restrictive and institutional alternative to nursing homes, don’t have the trained personnel or resources to treat potentially life-threatening conditions.
Another pbs.org article, “Life and Death in Assisted Living”, noted several differences between assisted living and nursing home facilities. Compared with nursing homes, assisted living facilities in many states receive relatively little outside monitoring. Under federal guidelines, nursing homes are supposed to be inspected at least once every 15 months. For assisted living, the interval between inspections can be five years in some states. While consumers can go online and compare the track records of nursing homes on a government web site, few such resources exist for assisted living. Twenty-two states still don’t post inspection records online, requiring residents to visit state offices to view them on paper or file public records requests.
In many parts of the country, assisted living operators face few consequences for even the most serious lapses in care. In Minnesota (as well as in 13 other states), administrators don’t need high school diplomas. Under most state regulatory schemes, assisted living companies are also free to decide how much staff their facilities should have. “If you look at the history of assisted living, it sort of emerged like a hernia. It pushed through a soft spot in oversight,” said Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a national advocacy organization based in New York.
“There’s no question oversight is worse now than it was 10 years ago,” said Pat McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a nonprofit organization. “The current system is a recipe for neglect and abuse. Care standards are almost meaningless. Facilities can flout the law without facing serious consequences.”
The absence of strict federal involvement allows consumers to have a greater voice in how assisted living is regulated in their local communities. All of that helps explain why industry research shows a high level of satisfaction with assisted living care. Still, proponents say, federal regulation could at least make care standards more consistent nationwide and aid in the collection of basic information about assisted living that does not exist today.
The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.