Jason Stephens | July 16, 2020 | News
According to numerous news reports, residents in a Lake Worth nursing home were evacuated from the facility on July 8. Approximately 63 patients were taken from the nursing home and transported to two other facilities by MedStar.
A spokesperson for MedStar could not comment on why the transfer of the patients occurred. The Texas Department of State Health Services initiated the transfer of the Lake Worth nursing home patients. Roughly 25 of the patients tested positive for COVID-19.
MedStar took precautions to protect patients and staff members during the move. MedStar used PPE and followed safety protocols during the transfer.
The nursing home is on Wells Drive in the 4200 block. Two facilities in Tarrant County are now housing the nursing home residents.
An AMBUS carried many of the residents to their new facility. The rest of the residents were moved one at a time using ambulances. The state notified family members of the move.
NBC 5 obtained records for the nursing home. The records revealed that the nursing facility had been cited 15 times for life and health code violations in 2019. Violations included:
- Oxygen safety
- Failing to provide sufficient emergency power
- Fire prevention
- Doors latching
- Failing to allow a resident to choose his or her own health care, activities, or schedule options
- Housekeeping issues
A statement from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission said that a team of investigators was sent to the nursing home within an hour of the department being notified of the “status” at the nursing home. The department did not explain what it meant by “status.” The statement said that the department’s authority allowed it to revoke a nursing home’s license and take other actions if the facility did not comply with safety and health regulations.
The statement also said that it investigates all long-term care facilities where at least one COVID-19 positive case is reported. The nursing home did not make a statement, and managers were not available for comment.
The Status of the Nursing Home is Still Unknown
It is assumed that the HHSC continues to investigate the “status” of the nursing home that was reported to the department. It is unknown whether the move was related to the COVID-19 pandemic, health code violations, or allegations of abuse or neglect.
In May, Governor Abbott directed agencies to conduct COVID-19 testing in all nursing homes throughout the state. He ordered several state agencies to test all residents and staff members of nursing home facilities. It is unknown whether the nursing home in Lake Worth complied with the requirement for testing.
There have been outbreaks of COVID-19 in several of the state’s long-term care facilities.
As of July 15, 2020, 851 nursing homes and 396 assisted living facilities in Texas reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. There have been 10,799 confirmed cases of coronavirus among assisted living and nursing home residents. The reported deaths total 1,415.
Texas Nursing Homes Fail to Report COVID-19 Data
Texas facilities have continued to fail to report nursing home cases of COVID-19 to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. At least 76 nursing home facilities did not submit the COVID-19 data during the most recent reporting period. It is unknown whether the Lake Worth nursing home that was evacuated is one of the 76 facilities that failed to report coronavirus data.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett is concerned. He stated that without the information and data, they could not develop a policy to protect families.
One positive note is that the data that has been received appears to show a decline in shortages. Nursing home facilities are not reporting as many shortages of PPE, hand sanitizer, and staff members.
Protecting Your Loved One in a Nursing Home
With the restrictions on nursing home visits, many families are frustrated and concerned because they cannot check on their family members in the facilities. They cannot visit them to ensure that they are receiving the care they need. One of the best ways to detect neglect and nursing home abuse is to visit residents, and that option is not available to families now.
Some residents can talk to their loved ones by telephone, but many residents are unable to have telephone conversations. Family members should receive updates from the nursing home or assisted living facility. The facility should also answer questions and respond to concerns promptly.
If you are concerned about a loved one in a long-term care facility and you are not receiving answers or a response from the facility, you can contact the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities for assistance. The agency investigates complaints against long-term care providers in the state.