Violations Cause Concerns at Tarzana Health and Rehabilitation Center
There are many ways in which nursing care facilities can put their residents at risk of suffering a serious injury or illness. One of the most devastating ways that a patient can suffer is through excessive medication. Patients in these types of situations can become overly sedated and incapable of communication. Excessive medication and invasive therapies are just two of many concerning situations found by inspectors at the Tarzana Health and Rehabilitation Center.
On March 6, 2012, investigators who are a part of Operation Guardians, a multi-agency task force, performed a surprise inspection at the Tarzana Health and Rehabilitation Center. The Operation Guardians team uncovered many potentially dangerous situations. Here are some of their findings.
- One resident was receiving a "large amount”" of antipsychotic medications. His chart did not include any details as to why he required powerful drugs such as Remeron, Ativan, Effexor or Seraquel. There was no documented diagnosis or significant behaviors that would require these powerful medications.
- Similarly, another patient was receiving Depakote for depression despite the fact that he was not diagnosed with depression.
- Infection issues were found throughout the facility. For example, the linen closet had clean linen, but had plastic debris on the floor, which posed the risk of infection.
- State fire codes were violated in one instance where an oxygen concentrator was plugged into an extension cord.
- There were supposed to be only 12 residents on bedfast, yet at least another 13 residents were in bed during the inspection.
- The facility did not have sufficient staff to assist residents with eating and many patients were eating in bed.
- Many workers were not wearing nametags. This is a safety issue.
- The Resident Abuse Investigation Policy and Procedure at the facility was not in compliance with state law. Under the facility's procedures, only the administrator is allowed to fill out a form to report abuse or neglect. Under California law, the actual witness to the abuse or neglect must be the one to fill out the forms.
- One resident was receiving oxygen but was not provided a humidifier to combat potential throat and oral issues.
- Another resident was suffering from a significant cough despite no mention of pulmonary issues on her chart.
- One patient who was supposed to receive physical therapy services six times a week. Despite reports of the resident refusing these services, the facility still charged for physical therapy. In other words, the patient was not receiving the physical therapy needed, but the facility was still charging the resident as if she were being treated.
- A 90-year-old resident was receiving twice-daily injections of insulin. If an elderly patient with low blood sugar is given insulin, it can become a life-threatening situation. Additionally, there appeared to be no follow up on glycohemoglobin testing for the elderly resident.
- There were also a number of instances in which the medical providers were not meeting current standards regarding end-of-life care. Some patients were over prescribed psychotropic drugs. Others were given invasive tests. Many end-of-life patients were not given the means to enhance and ensure their comfort.
- There were also cases involving preventable pressure ulcers. In one example, an elderly patient died as the result of an avoidable deep tissue injury.
Protecting the Rights of Nursing Home Residents
If you worry that a facility is not providing adequate care to your loved one, speak up. Tell management you are concerned. If the administration refuses to take action or denies the allegations, notify the authorities right away. You can also speak with an ombudsman to discuss how to protect your loved one. In cases involving negligence or wrongdoing, it would also be in your best interest to speak with an experienced Los Angeles County nursing home lawyer. Financial compensation may be available for medical bills, physical pain, emotional distress and in some cases, even punitive damages. The skilled Los Angeles nursing home neglect attorneys at our law firm have a successful track record of holding negligent nursing homes accountable. Please contact us for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.
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