The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offer a website that compares nursing homes and gives them ratings so that loved ones can make informed decisions for the care of their elderly family members. However, those ratings might be a bit one-dimensional, as there is generally no differentiation between patients who are in long-term versus short-term care. Options may also be limited for patients who require specific care, like a patient who is on a ventilator, which few long-term care facilities accept. One nursing home is facing complaints of abuse and neglect centered around a patient on a ventilator, as WREG reports.
Hazel Smith’s mother, Diane, who is 58-years-old and unable to move due to ALS, was a patient at Poplar Oaks Rehabilitation Center for about a year.
Diane, who is unable to speak due to a tracheostomy, still has ways of communicating. She informed her daughter that the nurses and staff of Poplar Oaks would curse at her and yank her. Smith also says that her mother would ask her to bathe her because the staff at the facility were not cleaning her.
One day, a nurse called Smith to inform her that her mother was not doing well and to discuss end-of-life options. Smith rushed to the facility to find that someone had lowered her ventilator. She called an ambulance.
She spent two weeks at a Germantown hospital and was feeling better. She was discharged back to Poplar Oaks, but her breathing problems returned. Her daughter contacted police.
The police report contains accusations of neglect and that there was no air conditioning on her mother’s floor. At the hospital where her mother went, they discovered bed sores that Poplar Oaks had not reported to her.
After she contacted police, management for the nursing home kicked her mother out for good, forcing her to have to stay in a hospital until another bed opened in a Chattanooga nursing home, which is 5 hours away.
Digging into the records revealed that Poplar Oaks has a 1-star rating. It also revealed complaints about abuse and neglect. One complaint said that a nurse took away a patient’s call button so that they could not call for help.
Several other reports detail staff members yelling and cursing at patients.
Orianna Health System, the parent company of Poplar Oaks, denied the allegations.