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John Bisnar
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Agency fines Hemet nursing home

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The agency that oversees California nursing homes has fined a Hemet facility $75,000 in connection with a patient’s death.

ManorCare Health Services in Hemet received an AA citation, which is the most severe under state law, on March 13, the article said. Evaluators from the California Department of Health Services found that an 83-year-old man died at a hospital on Jan. 13, 2006, seven days after he fell out of a wheelchair at the nursing home, according to the citation.

The man, whom the nursing home had identified as a fall risk, hit his head on the floor next to his bed, the citation states. He was taken to an unidentified hospital, where he was diagnosed with internal bleeding and admitted to the intensive-care unit.The man died after his son had him taken off life support, the report states.

The Department of Health Services would not identify the man or the nurses who failed to properly restrain him Jan. 6, 2006. The nurses no longer work at the nursing home, the report states.

The nursing home has appealed the citation. ManorCare Health Services owns more than 275 nursing homes across the country, including the Hemet facility and ManorCare Health Services in Palm Desert.

The Hemet facility on Monday agreed to provide nurses with patient-care training, according to the Department of Health Service’s report. Nursing administrators also are to check patient charts to make sure rules are followed. However, facility operators did not admit fault in the patient’s death.

The Department of Health Services last inspected the Hemet facility May 31, 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Medicare Web site. Inspectors found 17 health deficiencies, most of which had been corrected by July 15.

Pat McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said consumers should consider citation and inspection information when selecting nursing homes. The group’s Web site provides some of that information.

“Anytime there’s a citation you always have to put it in the context of what else is going on there,” she said. “The facility might be understaffed. You need to take into account the number of beds in the facility.”

Understaffing is the most common problem we see in nursing homes. We’ve found that owners will deliberately keep staff numbers low in order to boost profits. In many cases, staff members also do not get the specialized training they need to take care of their residents.

If you are looking to place your loved one in a nursing home, you may view inspection results at www.medicare.gov. If you would like to complain about a nursing home, visit www.canhr.org or call the group at 800-474-1116 or call the California Department of Aging Crisis Line at 800-231-4024.

If you would like a consultation regarding nursing home abuse or neglect, call me.