WV Veterans Nursing Facility Issued Citations; Resident Opens Up - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WV Veterans Nursing Facility Issued Citations; Resident Opens Up About Concerns

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Nursing facilities around the country are trusted by family members to provide the best medical treatments and living conditions available.

The West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility in Clarksburg strives to provide just that.

"It's at the core of our business, quality life, quality care," said Kevin Crickard, administrator of the West Virginia Nursing Facility in Clarksburg.

But a recent survey conducted at the home paints a different picture.

"We had 30 specific citations," said April Robertson, with the Office of Inspector General.

Robertson said five of those citations were instances of direct harm.

The Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification spent several weeks at the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility last fall. It spent time speaking with residents and employees about a wide range of care-related experiences and protocols. Facilities are subject to an annual report every nine to 15 months. OFLAC combined this survey with a complaint survey, after it received several complaints about the facility. You can view the full report and the facilities plan of correction by clicking here.

"Medication errors, safety and mobility concerns regarding security of facility, some skin care issues," Robertson said.

The office discovered more than 340 documented medication errors between March 2012 and October 2012.

"We have, our veteran population has roughly 12 medications per veteran. We have 100 veterans. That means in the course of a day anywhere between 1,500 to 2,000 medications are given out. There is the possibility always for medication errors," Crickard said.

The survey also found issues with staffing. While the facility meets state code requirements, the survey found it wasn't using them "effectively and efficiently to attain or maintain the highest physical, mental and psychological well-being of each resident."

Crickard said understaffing is one of the biggest fallacies about the facility.

Stephen Newlon is a Vietnam Veteran and resident at the facility. He said the facility may meet state code, but it's not meeting the needs of residents like himself. He's partially paralyzed in both of his hands and relies on his chair for almost everything.

"They had my wheel chair upstairs, charging it. I had no way to go to the bathroom and when you ring your call light it takes so long for someone to come and get you. It may be five minutes, it may be 20 minutes. I passed my bowels in my pants. I urinated in my pants several times. Three times in about a week, week and a half time total," Newlon said.

Newlon wasn't the only one ignored. The survey described another patient with a soiled nightgown, crusty eyes, and un-kept nails. Nursing notes indicated this issue at 8 in the morning. It wasn't until after 12 p.m. that those issues were cared for.

Inspectors also discovered several documented complaints for other patients that included urine odors, dirty beds, and unclean clothes.

Newlon said he's gone up to five days without a shower.

Kevin Crickard said all of the issues in that report were fixed. Newlon was given a new wheelchair, and he said his staff is constantly improving. OFLAC revisited the facility in February and said those original citations were no longer an issue.

But Newlon couldn't disagree more.

"I believe it's gotten worse because of the mandate, people are quitting and we're just so short that I cannot say it's gotten better taking care of residents or answering the call lights. It's declined," Newlon said.

Newlon also said he waited more than an hour a few weeks ago for someone to help him get changed.

OFLAC representatives said that even though it issued 30 citations, this was not much different from what it sees at other nursing homes in the state.  Officials said many of these issues are very common in nursing homes.  

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