legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Colorado Nursing Home Ratings & Safety Violation Information
Currently, the State of Colorado has 228 nursing facilities according to Medicare.gov. Of these, 166 homes (72%) are ranked average, above average, and much above average when compared to all facilities nationwide. Sadly, the remaining 52 (20%) nursing homes are rated below and much below average, placing residents at significant risk of injury, harm or wrongful death.
With the significant rise in the number of senior citizens entering their retirement years, there has been an increased demand for the number of nursing home beds in facilities nationwide, including in Colorado. Many families place the care of their loved one in the hands of medical professionals to ensure they remain safe in a comfortable environment.
Federal and state regulators routinely identify hazards and violations of nursing homes that harm or could harm residents. Below is a list of the most common safety violations found in below average and much below average rated Colorado nursing homes.
Failure to Protect Residents From all Forms of Abuse
It is the legal responsibility of every nursing facility to protect its residents from all types of mistreatment including restraint, punishment, sexual assault, mental distress, physical abuse, and neglect. State investigators have cited many Colorado nursing facilities after identifying violations that involve the failure to protect residents. Some citations involving reported abuse, neglect, and mistreatment in Colorado nursing homes include:
- Failure to complete a comprehensive resident assessment and supervise and monitor patients to prevent recurring resident-to-resident altercations (Lakewood Villa Health Care Center)
Failure to Protect Residents From Accident Hazards
While families place a loved one in a nursing facility to ensure they are protected from injury, many residents are victims of accident hazards that could have been prevented had the nursing staff, employees and administration followed the established protocols. Current violations involving accident hazards in Colorado facilities include:
- Failure to update the resident's Care Plan to prevent further falls after he fell on two occasions (Belmont Lodge Health Care Center)
- Failure to provide indicators for the staff to distinguish between similar resident's names to avoid severe problems by giving the wrong resident medications or care (Devonshire Acres Nursing Center)
- Failure to thoroughly investigate an incident involving a bruise of unknown origin that might indicate neglect or abuse (Lakewood Villa Health Care Center)
- Failure to accurately assess and provide supervision to ensure a resident safely used their motorized wheelchair (Minnequa MediCenter)
Failure to Report and Investigate any act or Reports of Abuse, Neglect or Mistreatment
State and federal laws mandate that every nursing facility investigate and report any incident or allegation involving abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. Any failure to do so can lead to a violation of statutes and a citation that might result in a monetary penalty. Colorado investigators cited nursing facilities for their:
- Failure to conduct a comprehensive investigation after an incident involving resident-to-resident verbal abuse (Belmont Lodge Health Care Center)
- Failure to follow established protocols to ensure all allegations and incidents involving abuse and neglect are reported and investigated (Regent Park Nursing and Rehab Center, Lakewood Villa Health Care Center, Rio Grande Inn Health Care Center, Sterling Living Center)
Failure to Implement and Follow Infection Protection Protocols
The spread of infection from patient-to-patient can cause catastrophic problems. These issues typically occur when the nursing staff fails to follow hand washing and sanitation protocols or neglects contact isolation precautions. Common violations involving noncompliance with infection protection protocols include:
- Failure to sanitize a facility mechanical lift between patient use to eliminate the spread of infection (Devonshire Acres Nursing Center)
- Failure to operationalize isolation precautions to minimize the potential spread of infection during an influenza outbreak (Glenwood Springs Health Care Center)
- Failure to follow protocols to reduce the spread of infection and transmission of communicable diseases (Lakewood Villa Health Care Center, Minnequa MediCenter, Sterling Living Center)
Failure to Ensure Residents Receive Proper Treatment to Prevent Bedsores
Bedsores (pressure wounds, decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers, pressure sores) are significant major health issues in nursing homes that can be prevented if the staff follows established protocols. When a bedsore does develop, it requires the highest level of treatment to eliminate the potential of degradation. Regulators have cited many nursing facilities for violations involving pressure wounds that include:
- Failure to adequately and consistently document and assess pressure ulcers to ensure the best treatment (Lakewood Villa Health Care Center)
- Failure to evaluate a resident's pressure injury correctly to provide the proper intervention or procedure that would help in healing the wound (Minnequa MediCenter, Rio Grande Inn Health Care Center)
Failure to Ensure That Every Resident's Drug Regimen Remains Free of Unnecessary Medications
Any nursing home can be cited if the nursing staff violates established protocols and administers unnecessary medications including psychotropics and antianxiety pills.
- Failure to monitor the efficacy of an antianxiety drug and attempt to use nonpharmacological interventions (Rio Grande and Health Care Center, Sterling Living Center)
Failure to Provide Residents an Appropriate Pain Management Regimen
Many aging, disabled, ill and rehabilitating patients in nursing facilities experience intense pain that must be managed appropriately to ensure health maintenance and recovery. Unfortunately, a lack of following protocols when managing pain can create unbearable conditions ranging from discomfort to uncontrollable agony. Regulators have imposed fines and denied payment for Medicare services when the facility is cited for pain care mismanagement including:
- Failure to follow established protocols to ensure the resident received optimal pain relief including attempting nonpharmacological interventions (Yuma Life Care Center)
Other Safety Concerns
The violations listed above are just a small sampling of the citations that many Colorado nursing facilities have received. Other pressing issues involved a failure to monitor antibiotic use to avoid developing antibiotic resistance, a failure to notify a family member or doctor when there is a significant change in the resident's condition, and not providing appropriate respiratory care.
Other problems involved a failure to established protocols to ensure the patient's highest well-being is maintained and not having a Registered Nurse on duty for at least eight hours every day.