Inspection crews with Operation Guardians conducted a surprise inspection of Sunrise Convalescent Hospital in Pasadena on December 14, 2011. Investigators examined the facility and evaluated the care of 12 current and former residents. Sunrise Convalescent Hospital provides care to both relatively young and independent residents as well as high-acuity elderly residents. According to the task force's report from February 2012, "deficient care and processes of care" at the nursing facility have caused harm that could have been avoided.
Troubling Findings at Sunrise Convalescent Hospital
There were many observations made by inspectors with Operation Guardians that are indeed troubling. A few examples of hazardous situations discovered by inspectors include:
- The facility did not meet the legally required staff to patient hours per resident day. California law requires that a registered nurse spend a minimum of 3.2 hours per resident. The facility was below the legally mandated staffing levels on all six randomly reviewed days. In fact, the average staffing hours per resident was 2.96 hours.
- Several incidents were not logged into the Incident/Accident log. This violates state law, which requires all instances of suspected abuse or neglect to be reported. All accidents such as falls or injuries, regardless or how or why they occurred, must be logged.
- Many residents were unable to reach their call lights.
- Some of the patients had to suffer the indignity of being transferred by chairs to the shower rooms while they were exposed and inappropriately covered. This is a resident rights and dignity issue.
- There were no alarms on the exit doors or any faculty sitting in the entry area. This means that ambulatory residents, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer's, could have walked out of the facility unmonitored.
- Debris was on the floors and walkways throughout the facility including in the resident rooms. This poses fall and injury hazards.
- There were a number of instances in which the residents signed consent forms without notification of their family members. In some cases, facility staff became decision makers. This may be a violation of California law and is a dangerous practice.
- A heavily soiled cart was in the clean utility room creating a health hazard.
- A number of bathrooms were dirty and unsanitary. The shower rooms were also dirty and soiled with feces and mold.
- All residents who required hospice care were utilizing Queen of Angels Hospice, which is a company operated by the owners of the facility. It is not clear if the residents were offered any alternatives.
- Patients who required additional care because they were gastrostomy tube patients were not handled by appropriately licensed skilled nurses.
- Some residents mentioned that their medications were not always administered in a timely manner.
- Residents complained that personal items were taken from their room.
- One resident suffered a brain hemorrhage after falling at the facility. Shortly after, he was prescribed a tranquilizing medication that increases his chances of falling again. No attempts were made to prevent the resident from falling again, and on one occasion, he exited the building on his own and returned with alcohol in his breath.
Protecting Victims' Rights
It is crucial that elderly patients are provided adequate medical attention and nursing care. When a facility neglects or abuses its patients, devastating injuries and illnesses can occur. Often, such negligence results in a tragic death that could have been entirely avoided. The family of someone who has suffered injury or harm because of nursing home negligence or abuse would be well advised to discuss their legal rights and options with an experienced Pasadena nursing home abuse attorney.
The skilled Los Angeles nursing home neglect lawyers at our firm have a successful track record of holding negligent nursing homes accountable. We have the resources and the tenacity to stand up and fight against large corporations that try to get away after causing serious injury and harm to innocent consumers. If your loved one has been neglected or abused at a nursing home, please contact us to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
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