Fort Smith Arkansas Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Fort Smith Elder Neglect AttorneyThe decision of placing an elderly parent or grandparent in a nursing facility is often emotionally painful and usually the only option the family has to ensure their loved one receives the medical attention and hygiene assistance they require. It is usually the expectation of the family that the nursing facility provides a clean, safe environment and exceptional standard of care. However, when the actions of the nursing staff resulted the resident being neglected, hurt, or abused, there is often a sense of betrayal and confusion of what to do next. The Fort Smith nursing home neglect attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC believe that that basic dignity and respect should never be ignored and provide assistance to protect the resident’s rights.

While the majority of nursing homes provide excellent care to their residents, far too many have serious problems due to overcrowding, understaffing or lack of training of the nursing staff. The numbers of senior citizens within the Fort Smith city limits has risen over the last few decades where more than 20,000 citizens are age 65 years or older. Because of this, the excess amount of beds required in nursing facilities has become a significant problem here and all throughout Sebastian County. The significant problems correlate with the increasing cases involving abuse, neglect and mistreatment.

Fort Smith Nursing Home Resident Health Concerns

Many of the residents residing in nursing facilities require round-the-clock assistance by trained medical staff and depend heavily on nursing professionals. Unfortunately, in many incidences the staff does not provide quality care to meet the resident’s needs.

As advocates for nursing home residents, our Sebastian County elder abuse attorneys serve as legal advocates in an effort to provide public awareness of local nursing homes with serious health concerns. Our Fort Smith nursing home lawyers continuously review publicly available information gathered from national databases including Medicare.gov and post the information to assist families making the undesirable choice to place a loved one in nursing facilities throughout Arkansas. The information below can serve as an invaluable tool to make a well-informed decision to ensure the loved one receives the best care possible.

Comparing Fort Smith Area Nursing Facilities

Our Arkansas nursing home neglect attorneys have posted the list below of nursing facilities in the Fort Smith area that currently maintain below average ratings. In addition, we list our primary concerns, including file complaints, opened investigations and surveys indicating serious problems, including hazardous conditions, unsanitary environments, nursing home neglect and abuse.

Information on Arkansas Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence Lawsuits

Our attorneys have compiled data from settlements and jury verdicts across Arkansas to give you an idea as to how cases are valued. Learn more about the cases below:

HIGHLANDS OF FORT SMITH THERAPY AND LIVING CENTER
5301 Wheeler Avenue
Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901
(479) 646-3454

A “For-Profit” 117-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility

Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 possible stars

2 star rating

Primary Concerns –

Failure to Provide Proper Treatment to Residents with Tube Feeding to Prevent Problems Including Aspiration, Pneumonia, Diarrhea, Dehydration, Vomiting

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 04/03/2015, a notation was made during an annual licensure and certification survey by a state investigator concerning the facility’s failure to “ensure the flow rate of a tube feeding was infusing at the rate ordered by the physician.” This deficient practice affected one resident at the facility “who have physician’s orders.” However, the failed practice “had the potential to affect [six other residents at the facility].”

The deficient practice was noted after the state investigator reviewed a resident’s Quarterly MDS (Minimum Data Set) with an Assessment Reference Date (ARD) of 02/02/2015 documenting that “the resident was severely impaired with cognitive skills for daily decision making. In addition, the notation was made that the resident “had a weight gain of 5% or more in the last month or 10% or more in the last six months and has a feeding tube.” The physician’s orders indicate unspecified dysphagia but requires continuous feeding through a PEG tube 23 hours every day at 50 cc per hour.

The resident’s 02/05/2015 care plan indicates that the resident “has a need for a feeding tube for nutrition/hydration and is at risk for complications such as potential fluid deficit, constipation related to dysphagia, being NPO (nothing by mouth).” The care plan also outlines interventions that the resident “will be monitored for significant weight loss/gain to the next review. Administer tube feeding and water flushes as ordered.”

On 03/31/2015 at 12:28 PM, an observation of the resident indicated that the resident’s tube feeding was infusing at 55 cc per hour [not 50 cc per hour as per the physician’s orders]. A few minutes later, the Licensed Practical Nurse assigned to work with the resident was asked “to check the flow rate of the resident’s tube feeding. She checked the rate at that time and stated ‘it should have been on 50 cc an hour and it was on 55 cc an hour when I did my rounds’.” The Licensed Practical Nurse was then asked what time she performed her rounds when she replied “a little after 8:00 AM, I hung it (the feeding tube) at a proximally 6:30 PM yesterday afternoon.”

At 9:20 AM on 04/01/2015, the Licensed Practical Nurse on duty “was asked by the resident’s documented weight gain” and replied “the doctor is well aware of [the resident’s] weight gain. He has reduced the rate of the tube feeding from 60 cc an hour to 55 cc and now it is 50 cc an hour and the resident has still gained.”

The resident was transferred to the hospital on 01/06/2015 and 01/13/2015 “all concerning weight gain, [other medical conditions], abdominal pain or all of these […and] had a urinary tract infection on 01/13/2015, but no ideology was found for weight gain. A CT (computed tomography) scan, labs (laboratory) and reviews of the nutrition have been done, but no explanation was found.”

Our Fort Smith nursing home neglect attorneys recognize that failing to provide proper treatment for residents requiring to feeding my cause the resident harm or injuries. In addition, the deficient practice of not properly maintaining the adequate feed rate by the nursing staff might be considered mistreatment or negligence because of the resident’s “unexplained” weight gain.

VALLEY SPRINGS REHABILITATION AND HEALTH CENTER
228 Pointer Trail West
Van Buren, Arkansas 72956
(479) 474-5276

A “For-Profit” 105-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility

Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 possible stars

2 star rating

Primary Concerns –

Failure to Develop, Implement and Enforce Policies to Prevent Abuse, Neglect or Mistreatment of Residents

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 08/29/2015, a notation was made by a state surveyor during an annual licensure and certification survey involving the facility’s failure to “ensure their abuse prohibition policies and procedures were implemented to minimize the potential for staff-to-resident abuse.” In addition, the facility also failed:

  • “to ensure reference checks with previous employers were completed prior to [hiring two newly hired employees] whose personal records were reviewed”
  • “to follow up on a flagged disciplinary action that was documented on the employment application of [an employee] whose personnel records were reviewed.”
  • “to ensure their abuse prohibition policies and procedures specifically addressed injuries of unknown origin, to direct staff on the necessary investigation, protection and documentation procedures.”

The failures by the administration, human resources department and nursing staff “have the potential to affect all 86 residents who reside in the facility.”

The deficient practice was noted after a review of five employee personnel records on 08/26/2015 who were hired since 05/05/2015. Some of these included:

  • A Certified Nursing Assistant’s personnel record with a hire date of 08/19/2015 did not show any documentation “of reference checks with previous employers.”
  • A Licensed Practical Nurse personnel record with a hire date of 07/01/2015 indicated that the nurse replied yes on the 07/25/2015 General Application for Employment when asked “has your license ever been revoked, surrendered or suspended?” A comment was made by the nurse indicating “My license is currently on probation for a crime I committed in 2002.”
  • The Human Resources Representative was asked if they knew the Licensed Practical Nurse “had a flag on his board of nursing documentation?” The human resources representative replied “No, I had no knowledge.”

Our Van Buren nursing home abuse attorneys recognize that any failure to develop, implement and enforce policies that ensure the prevention of abuse, neglect and mistreatment of residents is a considerable deficient practice at Valley Springs Rehabilitation and Health Center. The failure of the Administration, Nursing Staff and Human Resources Department does not follow the facility’s policy and procedure titled Investigation and Reporting of Alleged Violations of Federal and State Laws Involving Mistreatment, Neglect, Abuse, Injuries of Unknown Source and Misappropriation of Resident’s Property that reads in part:

“Screening: all applicants for employment in the facility shall, at a minimum, have the following screening checks conducted. Reference checks with current and/or past employer. Appropriate licensing board or registry check.”

VAN BUREN HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER
1404 North 28th Street
Van Buren, Arkansas 72956
(479) 474-8021

A “For-Profit” 109-certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility

Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 possible stars

2 star rating

Primary Concerns –

Failure to Provide a Level of Care by Qualified Nursing Staff to Ensure That All Resident’s Written Plan of Care Is Met

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 05/07/2015, a notation was made during an annual licensure and certification survey by a state investigator concerning the facility’s failure to “ensure the physician’s plan of care was followed for nectar thickened consistency liquids in order to prevent potential aspiration for [a resident at the facility].” While this deficient practice directly affected one resident, and have the “potential to affect 11 residents who required second liquids according to the consensus status report dated 05/07/2015.”

The deficient practice was noted after the state investigator conducted a review of a resident’s Admission MDS (Minimum Data Set) with an Assessment Reference Date (ARD) of 04/30/2015 that documented that the resident had a Brief Interview for Mental Status (BIMS) score of 12 (were any score between eight and 12 indicates moderately impaired). In addition, notations were made in the report that the resident “required supervision and set up assistance with meals.”

A notation was made in the 05/05/2015 resident’s care plan documenting a problem that indicated “non-compliant with diet order. Interventions: explained and reinforced to [the resident] the importance of maintaining the diet ordered. Monitor/document/report to [the facility’s medical doctor for any signs or symptoms] of dysphagia.… [The resident] has a swallowing problem related to disease progress. Interventions: diet to be followed as prescribed.”

The state investigator made an observation of the resident at 11:20 AM on 05/05/2015 noting the resident “was in her high back wheelchair [with] an 8-ounce glass of non-thickened water and an 8-ounce glass of non-thickened tea served with her meal.” The investigator asked the resident if the drinks were thickened and the resident responded “I don’t like that thickened stuff.”

At 12:40 PM on 05/06/2015, the state investigator made an observation of the resident who “was drinking a bottle of Diet Coke” and was asked if the beverage had any thickener in it. The resident replied “No.”

The state investigator conducted in 11:08 AM 05/07/2015 interview with the facility’s Director of Nursing to ask if there was any information about the resident’s care plan being “noncompliant with her nectar thickened liquids.” The Director of Nursing replied “if noncompliant we would put in the care plans; we added that information.” The Director of Nursing was asked if the resident or family members signed a waiver or some form of assessment was performed when the facility became aware the resident was not following diet restrictions or their physician’s orders. The Director of Nursing replied “we have had signed waivers in the past; have not done one with her, yet.”

Our Van Buren nursing home neglect attorneys recognize and any failure to provide a level of care by a competent nursing staff to ensure that the Plan of Care ordered by the physician is met could place the health and well-being of the resident in grave jeopardy. The deficient practice of the nursing staff at Van Buren Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center fails to follow the established procedures and protocols adopted by the facility.

OZARK NURSING HOME
600 North 12th St
Ozark, Arkansas 72949
(479) 667-4791

A “For-Profit” -certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility

Overall Rating – 1 out of 5 possible stars

1 star rating

Primary Concerns –

Failure to Provide Residents an Environment Free of Accident Hazards and Provide Adequate Supervision to Ensure Preventable Accidents Are Avoided

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 06/12/2015, a notation was made by a state investigator during an annual licensure and certification survey concerning the facility’s failure to “ensure plan for fall interventions were consistently implemented to decrease the potential for falls related to injuries for [a resident at the facility] with plan interventions for fall prevention.” While this deficient practice of the facility directly affected one resident, it “had the potential to affect 46 residents with planned interventions for fall prevention” at the time the discovery was made.

The deficient practice was noted and made after the state surveyor reviewed a resident’s Quarterly MDS (Minimum Data Set) with an Assessment Reference Date (ARD) dated 03/26/2015 that documents the resident’s Brief Interview for Mental Status (BIMS) score was 15 (where any score between 13 and 15 indicates cognitively intact.” In addition, the document noted that the resident required “supervision and set up for transfers, did not walk, required supervision and set up help for locomotion on the unit, required the limited physical assistance of one person for locomotion off the unit, use of a wheelchair for locomotion, had limited range of motion of one upper and one lower extremity and had experienced one fall with injury since admission or prior admission.”

State investigator reviewed a 01/21/2015 Facility Incident Report that noted that the resident had an incident occur in the resident’s room. The resident indicated “I fell my knee went out on me.” The resident “was found in the room by [their] bed complaining of head, left hip, right foot pain.”

A review of the June 2015 physician’s orders on the resident indicated that nonskid strips were applied in front of the bed. However, at 5:02 PM on 06/08/2015, at 9:32 AM and 3:20 PM on 06/09/2015 and at 8:43 AM on 06/10/2015, the resident was lying in bed with the clip alarm attached to a wheelchair at her bedside. There was no clip alarm on the bed.” Again on 06/10/2015 at 9:46 AM, “the resident was wheeling herself down the hall in the wheelchair […and] there was a clip alarm on the back of the chair; the alarm was not attached to the resident.”

11:20 AM on 06/10/2015, the state surveyor observed to Certified Nursing Assistants entering “the room to provide a bed bath of the resident. The resident was lying in bed with no alarm on her bed; it was a clip alarm on the resident’s wheelchair. There were no non-skid strips on the floor of the resident’s room.”

The state surveyor conducted a 06/11/2015 interview with the facility Director of Nursing who is asked if the resident should have a clip alarm. The Director of Nursing replied “I don’t know. I’d have to look.” The state surveyor asked if there are any risks of the resident not having the order clip alarm on. The Director of Nursing replied “She tries to get up by herself and falls.”

Our Ozark nursing home neglect attorneys recognize that any failure to provide residents an environment free of accident hazards or take necessary precaution or provide supervision to prevent avoidable accidents could cause significant harm or injury to the resident. The deficient practice by the nursing staff at Ozark nursing home fails to follow the established procedures and protocols adopted by the facility. These failures might be considered negligence or mistreatment of the resident.

PARIS HEALTH AND REHABILITATION CENTER
1414 S Elm St
Paris, Arkansas 72855
(479) 963-6151

A “For-Profit” -certified bed Medicaid/Medicare-participating facility

Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 possible stars

2 star rating

Primary Concerns –

Failure to Ensure That Every Resident Receives Adequate Fluids to Ensure Their Health and Prevent Dehydration

In a summary statement of deficiencies dated 03/20/2015, a notation was made during an annual licensure and certification survey by a state investigator concerning the facility’s failure to “ensure a resident received adequate amounts of fluids per day in accordance with calculated fluid requirements to prevent the potential dehydration.” This deficient practice affected one resident at the facility “who required thickened liquids.” While this failure affected one resident, and have the potential to affect three other residents “who received thickened liquids.”

The deficient practice was noted after review of a resident’s records that included a physician’s orders requiring nectar thick liquids. A review of the 05/08/2014 Registered Dietitian Review indicated that the estimated daily fluid needs were 2050 milliliters per day or 25 milliliters per kilogram.

The state surveyor reviewed the 02/05/2015 care plan for the resident that indicated “potential dehydration due to impaired cognition related to [the resident’s diagnosis], dementia, unable to make himself understood, thickened liquids, decrease in fluid intake, refuses fluids at times. Approaches: offer/encourage fluids honoring preferences.

However, the state investigator conducted a 03/16/2015 observation of the resident occurring four different times throughout the day beginning at 10:46 AM in finishing at 5:12 PM and again on 03/17/2014 between 7 AM and 11 AM and again on 03/20/2015 at 6:50 AM. At all times during the observations, “there were no thickened liquids at the resident’s bedside or were in the resident’s room [by the sink/cabinet area].”

However, the resident was served nectar thick fluids on a separate tray on 03/16/2015 at 5:20 PM along with 120 milliliters of water, 120 milliliters of tea, 120 milliliters of red colored juice and 120 milliliters of magic cup. The total amounts of fluids offered was 480 milliliters. At this meal, the resident consumed all the liquids that were present on his tray and offered by the CNA [Certified Nursing Assistant].”

At 10:22 AM, the snack cart was returned to the kitchen […and] the resident had not been offered any thickened liquids or milkshakes on the snack cart. This surveyor opened the lid of the ice chest and found the ice chest was empty.”

Again on 03/17/2015 at 12:10 PM, the resident was served the numerous nectar thick fluids on his lunch tray totaling 640 milliliters. “The resident was offered all the fluids and consumed 310 milliliters of the fluids present.”

The state surveyor conducted a 1:12 PM 03/17/2015 interview with the Facility’s Director of Nursing who is asked to accompany the surveyor to the room of the resident. The Director of Nursing was asked if there were any fluids in the resident’s room to which the Director replied “No.” Upon review of the Roster/Sample Matrix the Director of Nursing was asked if the resident triggered for hydration which the Director replied “Yes.” When asked if the resident should only be offered fluids with meals the Director replied “No.”

Our Paris nursing home neglect attorneys recognize the failing to follow a resident’s plan of care and provide adequate fluids to ensure their help to prevent dehydration could jeopardize the health and well-being of the resident. The deficient practice of the nursing staff at Paris Health and Rehabilitation Center might be considered mistreatment or negligence because their failures do not follow the established procedures and protocols adopted by the facility.

How Do You Know If Your Loved One Has Been Mistreated?

There are many indicators pointing to mistreatment, neglect or abuse occurring in a nursing facility. This includes looking out for any indicators of a change in your loved one’s personality or behavior. If the resident appears suddenly withdrawn, uncomfortable or angry it may be they are attempting to speak out the only way they can. Other times, the loved one may become “antisocial” or fear being around one or more caregivers or other residents. In some situations, the nursing staff may be overmedicating your family member in an effort to keep them sedated, making your loved one easier to control or supervise.

It is imperative to look for any physical changes, including cuts, bruises, fractures, lacerations or sudden weight gain or loss. It might be that the nursing staff or others at the facility are barring access stating you cannot see your loved one immediately or at all. It may be that your loved one is living in unsanitary conditions or showing signs on their wrists, ankles or a change in their personality that could indicate that the staff is using unauthorized physical or medical restraints.

You might notice signs of emotional abuse caused by being humiliated, disgraced, shamed or chastised by others in the facility including residents and nursing staff. They may be malnourished or dehydrated which could lead to severe or life-threatening complications to their health and well-being.

What to Do

If you suspect your elderly loved one has been victimized by neglect, mistreatment or abuse, it is crucial to contact the Fort Smith nursing home abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC. Our Arkansas team of knowledgeable attorneys represents victims with cases involving abuse, neglect and mistreatment occurring in nursing homes all throughout Sebastian County.

Schedule your no obligation, full free case evaluation today by calling our Arkansas elder abuse law offices at (888) 424-5757. All personal injury, wrongful death and nursing home abuse cases are handled through contingency fee agreements. This means no upfront fees are required to receive our immediate legal representation. The information you share will always remain confidential.

For additional information on Arkansas laws and information on nursing homes look here.

If you are looking for information on a specific facility or an attorney, please see links below to respective locality pages.

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