At Brian Center Nursing Home Care – St. Andrews, an altercation between two residents revealed the nursing home’s cavalier attitude toward protecting residents and negligence in following state reporting regulations.
Resident 1 was verbally aggressive with another resident and hit a resident. When approached by a nurse, the resident cursed at her and said they did not “have to do a [expletive] thing.” The nurse reported this to the Director of Nursing and was told to have the resident undergo a psychological evaluation if this behavior continued. The resident was told this and calmed down, with no additional outbursts that afternoon.
Resident 2 was seen smoking on the facility’s front porch and reminded of the smoking policy. The resident, who was accompanied by an aide, responded and affirmed that they understood the policy but had chosen to smoke after getting upset when another resident hit them.
Resident 2 had gone outside to smoke and saw Resident 1. They asked to borrow Resident 1’s lighter, but Resident 1 began shouting and cursing at Resident 2, threatening to harm them. This quickly turned into an altercation, ending in Resident 1 hitting Resident 2 in the arm. They denied that they had used a closed fist to hit Resident 2’s arm.
After the altercation, the residents were separated, interviewed, and examined for injuries.
The second resident complained of a high level of throbbing pain in their arm after the incident. They received pain medication for the injury, which helped. This resident spoke with the Director of Nursing and shared that they no longer felt safe in the facility.
The Director of Nursing gave the resident the option to go to another nursing home facility or home because of their concerns. It is not clear what the resident chose to do after being hit by another resident.
The incident was reported to the State of South Carolina a full three days later. When the state survey team asked for a full investigation report, the facility failed to deliver this necessary document. They shared the witnessing aide’s statement, the statement of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and the facility investigation conclusion, which was not dated.
The nursing home had a policy affirming that the facility would conduct an investigation of alleged abuse or neglect according to state law, which they, in this case, did not. The Director of Nursing admitted to this failure but said that they and other staff members were new to the facility.
Nursing homes are responsible for the safety of all residents and promise to keep them free from abuse or neglect. Even when another resident chooses to hurt another resident, the nursing home has to bear that responsibility. This is one reason for the state’s citation, but the facility also failed to properly follow state regulations regarding reporting the abuse.
Administrators knew of the resident-to-resident abuse right away but did not report for three days. The state requires nursing home facilities to report abuse and neglect as soon as possible to keep nursing homes from hiding abuse and to keep residents safe. By delaying their communication with the state, Brian Center Nursing Home Care created a space where a resident with an aggressive history was not reported, and other residents were at risk.
The Director of Nursing’s claim that the staff was new to the facility is a poor excuse for failing to follow regulations. These nursing home employees were still required to protect residents and specifically licensed for patient care. There is no excuse for nursing home abuse, no matter the level of experience of the staff.
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