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Michigan Nursing Home Failed to Report Alleged Abuse to State

May 28, 2014

State investigators say that nurse aides at a Zeeland, Michigan, nursing home either caused “actual harm” to residents or put them at immediate risk of being harmed last year, and the home failed to report the alleged abuse to the state.

Investigators wrote that Providence Christian Healthcare & Rehab Center not only failed to report alleged mistreatment, but also failed to investigate patients’ unexplained injuries, WOOD TV reports. The state began investigating after receiving anonymous tips. One resident told a state investigator that a nurse’s aide broke her leg and another claimed the same aide squeezed him so hard that he was sure his ribs broke. Others said the aide’s treatment was so rough they suffered “skin tears.” Some residents said they were afraid of the aide.

After the investigations, Providence was the only nursing home in Michigan’s Kent and Ottawa counties rated “much below average” on a Medicare website for both health inspections and its “overall” score, according to WOOD TV. Providence officials said this rating is based on 2013 reports but the facility is now in compliance with state standards.

One of the incidents that triggered the investigations involved a nurse’s aide who reportedly broke a woman’s thighbone when he banged her wheelchair into a wall. The reports say he continued wheeling her to the lunchroom, despite her cries of pain. Records show the home did not investigate or report the broken bone, although this is required by state regulations. In another incident, the same aide was found brushing a resident’s hair while blood gushed from a long cut on her arm, which another aide called “the largest skin tear” she had ever seen. Another aide reportedly got angry with a combative resident with dementia and knelt on top of him, then muttered a racial slur under her breath. This incident was not reported, according to WOOD TV. If aides are found to have engaged in abusive behavior, their certification can be tagged, which means they are not permitted to work in a facility that accepts Medicare or Medicaid.

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