Local elder care facilities show deficiencies

Medicare officials released findings on the Internet this week that show three Carson City care facilities were found to be deficient in several areas when providing care to the elderly.

While one incident caused actual harm to a patient at the Evergreen Health and Rehabilitation Center, the violations were not serious enough to require fines or penalties, officials reported.

The Evergreen facility received 24 deficiencies during its last inspection, twice the average for the state, according to information supplied on the Medicare Web site, www.medicare.gov.

A recent Medicare inspection found Evergreen's failure to give residents proper treatment to prevent new bed sores or heal existing bed sores caused actual harm to patients.

The center's spokesperson and regional operations manager for the Evergreen Healthcare organization, Doug McCoy, said the facility is doing well overall and most of the findings were minor documentation issues.

The facility was purchased by Evergreen in December and operates with new management and leadership.

"Things are much improved over where they were," McCoy said. McCoy said the most serious deficiency regarding the bed-sore situation referred to one patient who had skin or circulatory problems.

Since the latest survey, all problems have been corrected, McCoy said. New pressure-relieving devices are being used and staff are being monitored, he said. "We are working to manage skin as aggressively as possible."

Mountain View Care Center and Carson Convalescent Center received close to average marks and were not found to be providing care that harmed patients. Both facilities have submitted correction plans to the state which have been approved.

"The company is very concerned about good care," said Shirley Paul, director of nurses at Mountain View Care Center. "We do the best we can. The patients are elderly, they've got dementia and the pay is not that good."

During the last state inspection, the state recorded 15 deficiencies at the Mountain View facility. The facility was found to have 30 percent of its patients in physical restraints, well above the state average of 14 percent and many patients had not given written permission to be restrained. Inspectors also noted that staff failed to keep narcotics locked safety and properly stored.

Nurses on staff have received training and the problems are being controlled and monitored, Paul said. The reason staff uses restraints such as bed rails for patients is to keep them from falling and tripping, she said.

Carson Convalescent Center was found to have 14 deficiencies, the least number in the city. The center had recently remodeled and needed to place a smoke barrier device in the attic, said Elmer Rieckhoff, center administrator.

All issues have been addressed and fixes will be in place by Nov. 27, he said.

"The bottom line is that the quality of care and quality of life is excellent (at our center)," Rieckhoff said. "That is what we strive for."

New Medicare listing reviews care facilities online

By Jill Keller, Appeal Staff Writer

Medicare unveiled a new service this week that allows families to look up the latest inspection information about facilities across the nation.

The government Web site at www.medicare.gov lists a section called "Nursing Home Compare." A detailed report about each care facility is located in this section that shows where facilities fell short during yearly state inspections in the areas of mistreatment, quality care, resident assessment, resident rights and environmental issues.

Gil Johnstone, elder rights chief for the Nevada Division for Aging Services, said she hopes the listing will educate consumers and really improve the quality of care. The department will use the site to compare the data to what it sees overall at the local facilities.

"We're kind of excited and hope people use (the Web site) more and see what's happening," Johnstone said. "If you see in the report that there are staffing issues, that could be a red flag. It's the quality of care we're looking for. "

Johnstone also said by viewing the inspection reports, consumers can get a better idea of how a facility operates.

"Sometimes just looking at a beautiful place with beautiful chandeliers doesn't mean everything is good in there," she said.

Elmer Rieckhoff, administrator for the Carson Convalescent Center, also said the online Medicare posting is good for consumers.

"It's a good resource," Rieckhoff said. "Not all surveys are perfect, but it's a good yard stick to use."

Care centers are required to make inspection surveys available to the public on site. The three Carson City facilities reported they had submitted correction plans that have been approved by the state since the latest inspections and have corrected their problems.

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