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Residents forced to wait for help at Upstate South Carolina nursing home, according to reports

Anderson Independent-Mail - 12/29/2017

Dec. 29--Residents at the Linville Court at the Cascades Verdae nursing home in Greenville complained for months that staff members were slow to respond to call lights, according to an August inspection report.

During an interview on the of morning Aug. 8, a resident reported waiting 50 minutes for requested pain medication without receiving it, according to the inspection report. A resident interviewed that afternoon said "call lights often yield no response and sometimes the resident must yell or shout for assistance,"

Another resident complained that staff members "seem upset that you rang your bell and they tell you to wheel yourself around," according to the report, which also listed nine grievances that had been filed between March and August about slow responses to call lights.

The 40-bed nursing home is part of the gated Cascade Verdae community. Its website says the community offers residents "the perfect retirement." Nursing home director James A. Hill Jr. did not respond to two phone calls and an email from the Independent Mail.

Citing the failure to respond to call lights in a timely manner, the inspection report found that the nursing home had not provided care "that keeps or builds each resident's dignity and respect of individuality."

The report listed 13 other deficiencies at Linville Court at Cascades Verdae. According to the report, there was no record that the nursing home notified a physician as ordered when a resident had a blood-sugar level of 375, which is nearly four times the level that is considered normal. Medications also were found in pill bottles with no expiration dates.

In addition to a lack of dietary support personnel, the report said the nursing home failed to prepare and serve food in a sanitary manner. Inspectors also found a leaking grease trap and vinyl gloves, empty pill dispensers, paper and other garbage piled near an outdoor garbage container that had a foul odor and flies.

Linville Court at Cascades Verdae was one of three Upstate nursing homes where inspectors found a number deficiencies that exceeded state and national averages between April 5 and Aug. 25, according to the most recent records from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

A total of 12 deficiencies were found at Greenville Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, according to a July 19 inspection report. Eight deficiencies were found at The Arboretum at the Woodlands nursing home in Greenville, according to a May 4 inspection report.

According to the latest data from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an average of 6.6 deficiencies are found during inspections at nursing homes in South Carolina. Nationally, an average of 7.2 deficiencies are found during the typical nursing home inspection.

Earlier this year, the Independent Mail published a series of stories, "A Question of Care," that revealed that deficiencies at Upstate nursing homes put many residents in danger from falls, bed sores and medication errors.

More: A question of care

A review of 205 inspection reports, 63 lawsuits and 105 police reports dating to 2011 found that the quality of nursing homes in Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Pickens counties varies widely. More than 3,000 residents live at 35 state-licensed nursing homes from Fountain Inn to Seneca.

Although nursing homes here have, on average, fewer deficiencies than those around the nation, care is inconsistent, and when quality suffers residents can be put in jeopardy.

The paper's investigation documented more than 1,100 deficiencies at Upstate nursing homes since 2011. The most serious deficiencies resulted in 38 fines totaling slightly more than $1 million. Additionally, 23 Upstate nursing homes have paid a total of $7.4 million since 2011 to settle lawsuits involving the deaths of 41 residents, court records show.

Results of most recent inspections

Between April and August, a total of 54 deficiencies were found during inspections at 13 Upstate nursing homes, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

No deficiencies were found during inspections at two of those nursing homes, Linley Park Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Anderson and River Falls Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Marietta. Both are managed by Orianna Health Systems, a Tennessee-based company that runs 13 Upstate nursing homes, more than any other provider.

Orianna also manages Greenville Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, a 132-bed nursing home on Rutherford Road where inspectors found 12 deficiencies in July.

One of the deficiencies at Greenville Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center involved a January incident in which a certified nursing assistant verbally abused a resident. The nursing assistant later resigned, according to the inspection report.

Another deficiency listed in the inspection report involved the nursing home's failure to adequately address a 22-pound weight loss by a resident during a six-week period. The nursing home was also cited for a medication error rate of 11.1 percent, which is more than twice the acceptable rate.

The inspection report cited numerous environmental problems at the nursing home, including the presence of flies in the kitchen and other areas. The report said a resident was seen swatting files with a wash cloth in an activity/dining room.

"Look, I have killed three so far," the resident told an inspector.

Mikki Meer, chief operating officer for Orianna Health Systems, said in an email that her company "is proud of the continued improvement demonstrated in the recent survey results of its South Carolina facilities."

"Any issues identified in the Greenville facility's annual survey were isolated, did not cause harm to any residents, and have all been rectified," Meer said. "The facility was subsequently found to be in substantial compliance with all CMS requirements and continues to provide excellent care."

During the May inspection that found eight deficiencies at The Arboretum at the Woodlands nursing home, a nurse and a nurse's aide were seen walking into residents' rooms without first knocking on the doors.

Other deficiencies included a failure to provide proper treatment to prevent bed sores or heal existing bed sores and a failure to store, cook and serve food in a safe and clean way, according to the inspection report.

A state inspector also visited The Arboretum at the Woodlands in June in response to a complaint. According to the inspection report, a staff member was found asleep in the nursing home's living room during an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift on May 25.

One of only three nonprofit nursing homes in the Upstate, the 30-bed Arboretum is part of the Woodlands at Furman retirement community. The nursing home's director, Carol Babbitt, did not respond to two phone calls and an email from the Independent Mail.

Follow Kirk Brown on Twitter @KirkBrown_AIM and email him at kirk.brown@independentmail.com

Where are they now? In the final days of 2017, we're bringing you up to date on some of the stories you were most interested over the past year.

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(c)2017 the Anderson Independent Mail (Anderson, S.C.)

Visit the Anderson Independent Mail (Anderson, S.C.) at www.independentmail.com

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