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Allegations of Neglect Against Desert Knolls Convalescent Hospital in Victorville

Every nursing care facility has a legal and moral responsibility to provide clean and safe conditions for its residents. Unfortunately, there are many nursing homes that cut corners and deliberately understaff their facilities in order to save money and enhance their profits. Often, many instances of neglect and abuse go unreported. To determine if facilities are mistreating their patients, the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse has been sending out a multi-agency task force called Operation Guardians to randomly inspect various California nursing homes. On March 22 and 23 of 2011, inspectors visited and observed the Desert Knolls Convalescent Hospital in Victorville. There were several disturbing findings at that nursing home that are cause for serious concern.

List of Violations at Desert Knolls

Inspectors who visited and observed Desert Knolls Convalescent Hospital discovered several violations. Here are some of their findings:

  • One restroom was unusable because of the odor of items soaked in urine.
  • Patients complained that the staff took a long time to answer the call lights.
  • One patient was restrained without informed consent.
  • At least one patient was misdiagnosed for a stage three pressure sore.
  • There was no documentation of communication between the facility and the hospice agency with regard to one specific patient. This led to medical issues for the patient. For example, the patient did not want to receive antibiotics, but she was administered antibiotics for 14 days.
  • The wound nurse at the facility was informed not to treat diabetic ulcers. One patient was suffering from a heel ulcer that went untreated. Inspectors determined that the ulcer was in fact a pressure ulcer and not a diabetic ulcer. If the care providers properly diagnosed the condition, the patient could have been spared considerable discomfort and being exposed to the risk of infection.
  • One patient was placed on fluid restriction without details as to why this was necessary. After further inspection, it was determined that she was put at risk of dehydration because her son did not want her to know that she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. However, her chart did not include a diagnosis for congestive heart failure and the resident was legally her own responsible party.
  • There were inconsistencies and a lack of information on one patient's skin and wound progress report. These reports are meant to track the progress of the healing or deterioration of the skin. The facility's inaccurate documentation may have affected the care the patient received. According to the report, this was a case of neglect.
  • Neglect was also cited by the task force as a possible cause of one patient's poor oral hygiene. Her teeth were clearly not being cared for and the staff was not regularly brushing her teeth.
  • The rooms were so poorly lit, that the nurse's ability to perform wound observations were affected.

Inspectors also determined that the facility failed to properly document, maintain, review and report information regarding infections at the facility. Therefore, the inspection team could not determine if state regulations regarding infections were being followed. Additionally, inspectors found the facility's Resident Abuse Investigation Policy and Procedures were not in compliance with state law.

Contacting an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you worry that your loved one has been harmed because of neglect or abuse at a nursing home, please do not hesitate to contact the experienced Victorville nursing home lawyers at our firm. It is possible to protect your loved one while holding the facility accountable for their negligence or wrongdoing. A skilled personal injury lawyer will work with investigators and medical professionals to determine the extent of the injuries suffered and how they occurred. The action you take against a nursing home, in addition to holding them responsible, may even help expose the facility for their wrongdoing and help protect other residents from similar mistreatment.

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Look for These
Signs of Neglect:

  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Head injuries
  • Open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries in various stages of healing
  • Broken eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids
  • Signs of punishment or physical restraint
  • Your loved one tells you they have been mistreated
  • A sudden change in behavior
  • The nursing home refuses to allow unsupervised visits
  • If your loved one exhibits any of the above signs, know your rights and contact an attorney today.

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