‘Horrific death’ at adult home results in violations

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Submitted: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 3:44am
Updated: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 2:39pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It has been a little more than a month since 84-year old Nanette Galbraith of Kure Beach was found in her room by staff.

“Mrs. Galbraith died unnecessarily, a horrific death,” says Joel Rhine, the Galbraiths attorney.

On June 23, 84-year old Galbraith was found dead in her room at The Commons at Brightmore, a Wilmington adult home facility.

In response, the N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation responded with an investigation into the center. Rhine says the report’s findings were shocking.

“I’ve been practicing since 1998 and I have never seen a report like that which was issued by the state and the county,” he says.

It lists pages of deficiencies, many of those referring to “resident # 1,” who’s body was found with her head caught between the hospital bed and the side rail.

Rhine says it took staff three hours to discover Galbraith.

“At 10:30 is when the last check occurred and I don’t believe that she was seen until about 1:30 in the morning,” Rhine says.

Galbraith’s bed had railings that were not ordered for The Commons to provide.

“Those railings should never be used unless a doctor orders that they are appropriate to use those, so this was the responsibility of The Commons,” says Wanda Marino, New Hanover County DSS assistant director.

The state cited the center with an A1 violation, which is the most severe penalty given. The violation is defined as resulting “in death or serious harm or results in substantial risk that death or serious harm will occur.” The center was given until July 29 to correct the violations.

Rhine says what is most upsetting to the family is how the incident was dealt with.

“The Galbraiths weren’t called by the facility at all,” he says. “They were told of this death by the police and that occurred the next morning.”

New Hanover County DSS also investigated Galbraith’s death and immediately put a plan in place to ensure the safety of other residents at The Commons. Marino says the center has been complying since the plan was implemented.

An attorney for the center e-mailed a statement in response to the investigation:

“We at The Commons are deeply saddened by the passing of Nannette Galbraith, a long-time resident of our assisted living community,” it reads. “We extend our deepest sympathies to Ms. Galbraith’s family and loved ones.

“We are not able to comment specifically on Ms. Galbraith’s passing at this time in accordance with patient confidentiality requirements, however, The Commons is working closely with representatives of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to address any areas of concern.
The Commons implemented all components of a Plan of Correction in response to the survey findings by the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation (“DHSR”) while the survey team was still in the building. A formal Plan of Correction shall be submitted to DHSR this week.”

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15 Comments on "‘Horrific death’ at adult home results in violations"

Margie Ax
2015 years 8 months ago

I am thinking of putting my mother in either Pacifica or Brightmore. Do you have any experience or an opinion on which might be a better facility? Thank you in advance for responding.

current LCNC Racine employee
2015 years 8 months ago

I have been working at Liberty Commons for years and I don’t recall anyone dying with dried feces on them. Were you fired from Liberty Commons and are just upset with them to come up with these rumors? We do not treat our patients like this and shame on you for making this false accusation. I truly love my patients and treat them with the same respect as if they were my own family members. We spend more time with our patients than with our own families…how can you act as if we don’t care?? Recently while I was working on the “night shift” the State Board of Nursing came in to do a spot check on staffing and found that we were properly staffed for our residents…so please get your facts straight when you are trying to run down our facility. The fact is that Liberty does care about their patients!

present employee
2015 years 8 months ago

In response to the negative Add about LCNC. To the family that lost his Mother I am very saddenened for ur loss. In regards to the negative statements from former LCNC employee. You are wrong. There are lot of hard working nuses cnas dietary therapy administrative staff that do care about these patients and what happens to them. Staff that good day or not thrive on lloking out for these patients. Given the fact that we live n animperfect world we may come acoss someone whose job performance is not what it should be. If that is the case they no longer work there. Instead of focusing on negative how about those who are self dacrifing

2015 years 8 months ago

Good for you. Their Long Term Care side is a disaster to say the least. The staffing is wretched at best and even worse at night at times one nurse for the entire 100/200 hallways (meaning 50+ patients for a single LPN) and sometimes 2 CNAs one for each hallway yet they’re not held accountable. They fail to keep decent staffing and those that do stay practically get away with murder.. No wait in one respect manslaughter comes to mind when a CNA failed to check on a patient only for a nurse to find the patient dead while doing 1st checks within 15-20mins into shift.(and the patient had dried feces on them)… Not to mention 3 administrators in under 3 yrs doesnt look good and as I understand it the DON has since changed recently and morale has only gotten worse

Old Man
2015 years 8 months ago

Nursing homes exist for only one purpose…and that is to separate the patient from his or her entire wealth, with the absolute minimum of expense.

I removed my mother from one of their sister institutions when it became apparent that all they were doing was warehousing her, awaiting her death. The level of attention given was appalling. We arranged for home care, at twice the price, but Mom had two more good years before she passed.

2015 years 8 months ago

This is not unusual, just not as easily proven. When my father was at Davis – a fancy, expensive place – he was left alone for hours with no one checking in. I know because I sat with him for long periods and saw no one, especially at night. He was also a huge fall risk and the pads by his bed were not replaced every time. All sorts of things like that, like the railing in this story. One night I was visiting @9:30pm and my father started having difficulty breathing. I tried to find someone to help. I went down the long, empty hallway and found two ladies working, cleaning up around the hall. I told them what was going on and they said they’d be right there. They weren’t, so I went out and asked again. They came and saw his face was beet red and obvious he was having a hell of a time breathing. Then they said they’d get someone to help. It took at least 20 minutes for someone to check him out and then call an ambulance. What if I hadn’t been there?

It’s a shame how our society doesn’t take care of our elderly and/or sick. Furthermore, many people can’t even afford or can’t qualify for assisted living or similar services and go without the care they need. Shameful.

2015 years 8 months ago

i know it was about time for something like this to happen they need to check the head staff they cover up alot of things to keep there nose clean all involved should be punish for they unselfish act. my regrets to the family may god bless you all for the lost of your love one

2015 years 8 months ago

I use to work at Davis. Short staffed 80% of the time. CNA’s hiding=95% of the time. Low wages, no work ethic= poor patient care!

Elderly citizen
2015 years 8 months ago

You ALWAYS do better to get a not-for-profit care home. If you are old enough to remember, back in the 50’s and 60’s, different religions ran the hospitals and nursing homes (this is part of the reason why churches are tax-exempt) and the care at their institutions was excellent. Now, while hospitals are still called “Baptist”, “St. Marys”, if you look up the owners you will find that almost all of them are owned by for-profit corporations. For-profit institutions have one goal…….MAKING THE BIGGEST PROFIT THEY CAN WITH THE LEAST EXPENDATURES.
This means hiring the cheapest staff they can find, the minimum of employees they can get away with, the cheapest food they can buy, etc.
Some people are concerned that the elderly may be euthanized. I’m 65 and I’d much rather be euthanized at home than be sent to a nursing home or long term rehab.

2015 years 8 months ago

My Father-in-Law was in an assisted care facility in another state for 5 years before his passing. The facility is a non-profit facility run by The Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The facility is well-run and well-staffed. I saw comparatively little turnover in Dad’s time there. He was well respected and cared for. Mother was also treated with respect on her frequent visits.
A caring, dedicated staff goes a long way in giving the patient a positive experience in a negative circumstance. But the staff also needs to be respected by their employers.

2015 years 8 months ago

I think that the state is doing a poor job ,keeping there eyes on all the nuseing home .. just last week a nuse stold money and meds from the leland one ,, its time for the state to check on them nurseing home , that we belive are safe,but there not !!!!

2015 years 8 months ago

At 5k a month plus, you would expect better. This place is suppose to be the BEST wilm has to offer. I am keeping my parents at home with a full time nurse until the end.

health care worker
2015 years 8 months ago

CNA’s do have a difficult job and are underpaid as they provide care for the needs of the sick and the elderly. The pay scale of this position needs to be increased so that individuals who have a heart for caring for others, and a true work ethic and are conscientious would feel called to this work. YOU are not one of the desired, your reference to cleaning butts and etc shows you are not respectful of who you care for. Get out of the healthcare business before YOU hurt someone.

2015 years 8 months ago

CNA’s have one of the most difficult jobs. They are responsible for the overall personal hygiene of presidents, with the majority of the residents hurling insults and racist comments towards the staff who wipe their butts and clean the crust out of their eyes. With that being said, CNA’s get paid just barely above minimum wage. So think about it…. $5000 a month for residency and the staff get next to nothing. Meanwhile, the desk woman at the commons is dressed in designer wear and give their staff hot dog staff appreciation parties, while the higher ups have theirs at Kickback Jacks! You’re not paying for quality care, you’re paying for the lifestyle of the administrators!

2015 years 8 months ago

My grandfather, who passed away twelve years ago had to be put in a nursing home. He was a big man and they had to use one of those slings to help move him. About a year before he died they were moving him in the sling and somehow it slipped and he broke his shoulder. It was more than twenty-four hours before they took him to the hospital. It breaks my heart to think about him lying there in pain that long.

I am glad that my father decided to move his brother to a nursing home in Wilmington. My father goes by and sees him regularly and makes sure that things are as they should be.

No one should have to suffer the indignities that some of these places inflict on the elderly. And if they can’t take the time to care for the patients, then they need to get out of the business.