California Nursing Home Will Close After Complaints About Patient Neglect

The Fircrest Convalescent Hospital in Sebastopol, California, will close in the near future because of the complaints about nursing home abuse the facility has received in the past few years. The event that precipitated its closure is that it has lost federal funding to treat Medicare patients, which accounted for the majority of the nursing home’s income. Medicare withdrew its support for Fircrest after the facility failed repeatedly to comply with Medicare regulations.

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A Nursing Home on the Verge of Closure

These days, Fircrest Convalescent Hospital looks like something of a ghost town. As of March 2018, 35 patients still reside at Fircrest, although the facility has the capacity to house 50. Even with a reduced number of residents, the facility is still significantly understaffed. A resident still living at Fircrest said that, because of the understaffing, family members sometimes call to ask about the welfare of their resident relatives, but no staff members are in the office to answer the phone. Additionally, the staff members assigned to transport food from the kitchen to patients’ rooms must now also do tasks previously assigned to other workers, so they often cannot deliver cooked meals to patients until the food is already cold. The resident said that Fircrest administrators will meet with patients’ families to discuss where to move the patients when Fircrest closes.

Nursing Home Fails to Respond on Time to Patient’s Stroke

The first signs of trouble began in 2013, when Fircrest was the subject of four complaints about the quality of patient care. The number of complaints increased each year, and in 2017, authorities filed 44 complaints against Fircrest, approximately one complaint per patient. One of the complaints in 2016 was regarding an employee who ignored a patient’s requests for help getting up from the toilet and left her sitting there for a long time. That same year, the staff did not notify a doctor in a timely fashion when a patient told staff members that she was having a stroke. By the time the patient reached a hospital, six hours had passed since her stroke.  Responding quickly when someone is showing signs of a stroke makes a big difference as far as the patient’s prognosis.

Nursing Home Understaffing: A Vicious Cycle

When nursing homes are understaffed, it creates a vicious cycle. The remaining employees have to take on the workload of more than one person, in a line of work already known for the dangers of stress and burnout. The more fines a nursing home receives because of violations related to understaffing, the less it can afford to pay its employees. If your relative is in a nursing home that does not meet the requirements regarding staffing, your best choice is to move him or her as soon as possible.

Contact Case Barnett About Nursing Home Neglect Cases

If your relative has been the victim of nursing home neglect, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California to discuss your case.

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