Uncalled for Death

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My niece Jennifer posted the article below. Here is the condensed article that came out on Feb. 1st online. The full version ran in the News & Record here yesterday, front page.

N.C. blocks Loyalton from adding patients
An inquiry finds the assisted living facility isn’t equipped to house wandering residents.

By J. Brian Ewing
Staff Writer

GREENSBORO – The state has stripped Loyalton of Greensboro of it’s ability to admit new residents after an investigation into a death at the assisted living facility on Lawndale Drive.
The N.C. Department of Heath and Human Services took the action against Loyalton in early January after determining it was not equipped to serve residents with a tendency to wander due to dementia or other causes of disorientation. The investigation found several other violations as well, according to documents released Tuesday by the state.
The action comes after an investigation int the Dec. 24 death of Edith Purvis, 85, a Loyalton resident who suffered hypothermia after getting locked outside for at least two hours and maybe longer. Purvis was discovered about 3 a.m. Temperatures reached below freezing that night. Calls to Loyalton for comment were not returned Tuesday.
Marty W., Purvis’ daughter, said she had been advised not to speak about the matter.
The state also is in the process of downgrading Loyalton to a provisional license. The change would mean Emeritus, Loyalton’s parent company, could not open any new facilities in the state until six months after a full license has been reinstated. A full license would not be reinstated until the state has reinspected the facility.
To regain a full license, Loyalton must prove it has developed policies to deal with residents who wander, is properly training staff and is assessing residents before admittance.
The DHHS investigation notes that at least five Loyalton residents had been identified as wanderers either through interviews with family, medical information or observation.
However, during several interviews with DHHS investigators, the facility’s regional director reported that Loyalton had no wanderers and therefore no policies to address the problem. They claimed that if a resident was identified as having memory problems or wandering tendencies, he or she would be recommended to another facility, according to the investigation report.
Interviews with staff and facility documents revealed numerous examples of residents wandering off, including one resident found walking down the sidewalk next to Lawndale Drive with a trash can full of shoes.
Purvis is not named in the report, but it details the death of “resident #3” on Dec. 24 after being discovered outside. The report cites a police interview with Loyalton’s executive director, who said the resident was confused but that wandering had not been a problem.
A staff member, however, told investigators that wandering had become such a problem with “resident #3” that at one point a bracelet had been attached to the resident’s wrist to set off a bell to notify staff if the resident got up.
Tammy Martin, Loyalton’s executive director told the News & Record in a previous interview that staff learned Purvis was missing about 3 a.m. while doing routine room checks. But staff members told investigators that “resident #3” was missing about 2 a.m. and was last seen in bed at midnight.
One staff member told investigators that some shifts were hectic and that some staff felt it would help to have an extra employee because of all the wandering residents.
“If the corporate policy is to discharge folks who are wandering and you’ve got folks who are wandering, obviously there’s some disconnect,” Jeff Horton, chief operations officer with the Division of Heath Services Regulation, said on Tuesday.
State law required a facility that cares for residents known to wander or become disoriented to have an alarm on every exit door, Horton said. Loyalton had no such alarms prior to Purvis’ death.
Facility officials reported that alarms were installed on the doors later that day; however, some were found not to be working during the investigation.
Loyalton had a relatively clean state inspection record prior to Purvis’ death. However, it did receive nine demerits in its most recent annual inspection and was fined #3,600 by the state last April for failing to administer medications as ordered.

I am not going to comment on this article except to say the report was 52 pages long, with only about 8 pages on my mom. The rest was the negligence concerning other random patients chosen by the state investigators. We are moving forward and have hired a lawyer.

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  1. I feel confident that I attended to “patient #3” that early Christmas Eve morning. A day hasn’t passed that I haven’t thought of this patient and the family. Feel free to contact me, if you’d like.

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