HOUSTON – There are approximately 1,200 nursing homes in Texas, so you would think finding a facility for your loved one wouldn’t be that hard.
But a recent study put Texas on the list of the top 10 states with the worst nursing homes. Channel 2 Investigates poured through hundreds of records to find Houston area nursing homes with the worst violations.
It’s a story Yolanda Blount wants you to read after living through a nightmare with her mom.
Nursing Home Horror Story
When Blount’s 70-year-old mother fell and broke her hip, she needed to go to a rehabilitation facility to help her walk again. The hospital gave Yolanda the names of four nursing homes in the area that could care for her mother for two to three weeks and provide the rehab. Blount visited all four facilities before choosing The Crescent in Sugar Land.
“Its landscaping is nice, it appears to be clean and the interior is amazing,” Blount said. “But it’s like getting a present that is real pretty and you open it up and it’s a bunch of rocks. I just felt like I failed her.”
Blount’s mother was transferred from the hospital to The Crescent on a Monday evening. Blount stopped by the very next morning to see her mother.
“My mom was totally nude. She was saturated in urine and feces. The whole bed was covered,” Blount recalled.
She said her mother, who has dementia and diabetes, was incoherent with a fresh blister she had rubbed raw on her foot. Yolanda found her mother’s call button out of reach and under her bed.
“I pressed it, and I pressed it, and I pressed it,” Yolanda said. “Nobody came.”
Minutes later, a man appeared in the doorway. He was wearing a maintenance shirt but Yolanda said he didn’t speak English.
“I was not understanding. He was not understanding me,” she explains. “He pointed to the restroom. I was over it and I screamed, ‘Get out!’”
The scream is what got the attention of a staff person out in the hall. She said that person didn’t help much either.
“They said she must have removed her own clothes and got out of the bed and put them in a plastic bag; and walked 25 steps and put them in a drawer or closet where I found them. Then hopped back in bed on top of urine and feces, her own body waste,” Blount said.
She transferred her mother out of The Crescent within a couple of days, but she spoke with KPRC 2 because she says there are other people still living there who don’t have a voice.
KPRC 2 demands answers
We stopped by The Crescent to speak with the executive director but he wouldn’t answer our questions by phone or email. We wanted to know basic information, like how often staff members check on patients and how long was Blount’s mother left alone with no one to dress her or clean up her urine-soaked bedding.
The executive director referred us to the corporation that owns The Crescent, CanTex Continuing Care based in north Texas. A spokesperson emailed the following statement:
“During the approximately 48 hours Ms. Blount was in our facility, our team fell short of the standards of care we regularly provide. We are disappointed that this occurred, sincerely apologized to the patient and her family, and took corrective steps to ensure this isolated situation does not happen again.”CanTex Continuuing Care
Cantex owns 37 nursing homes. Nine are in the Houston area and five of those homes have 2-stars ratings or lower on the Medicare Nursing Home Compare website, meaning “below average” or “much below average” care.
But, these homes are not even the worst.
Worst Nursing Homes in Houston
We used Medicare inspection data to rank Houston area nursing homes with the most serious violations. Those causing immediate jeopardy to resident health or safety.
The Westbury Place, recently renamed Paradigm at Westbury in southwest Houston has had such a poor history of quality care it currently has no stars on the federal nursing home compare website. The site even shows a red hand symbol, meaning inspectors have cited this home for abuse. No one returned our calls requesting a response from this facility.
Focused Care at Allenbrook in Baytown has also been cited for abuse and has six serious violations that put patients at risk. A representative of the facility emailed us a statement that you can read in its entirety below.
The nursing home with the worst history of violations in our area is Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation near Willowbrook. This location was recently renamed Misty Willow Healthcare and Rehab.
The feds have fined the facility nearly $296,359 over the last three years. The administrator of Misty Willow emailed a statement in response to our inquiries of why their ratings are so consistently low. You can read the statement in its entirety below.
KPRC 2 will show you step by step how you can check out a nursing home for your loved one.
Yolanda said one thing she didn’t check before she picked the nursing home for her mother were online reviews. On YELP and Google, the reviews are much blunter and easier to read than the inspection reports on the Medicare Nursing Home Compare website.
Misty Willow response:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding the survey history at Misty Willow. The Facility was acquired by Misty Willow Healthcare, Inc. in May of 2016, and had experienced clinical and operational challenges well in advance of the transition. We predicted that it would take time to reverse the course, and we were not wrong in that assessment. For the past several years, both before and after Misty Willow was designated as a Special Focus Facility, our team has worked tirelessly to improve our clinical and operational performance and regain the confidence of CMS and HHSC. The staff and employees were and are inspirational in their commitment to each and every valued member of our resident community, and the impact of that effort can be felt from the moment you walk through the front doors.
The natural byproduct of this kind of unified approach to quality outcomes and customer service is survey success. In its most recent State Survey of January 17, 2020, Misty Willow received only two (2) deficiencies; in the survey prior to that (July 18, 2019), there were no (0) deficiencies cited. And importantly, effective February 5, 2020, Misty Willow was officially graduated off of the CMS Special Focus Facility list. I could not be more proud to be a part of this team.
At Misty Willow, our primary concern is, and has been without exception, the health and welfare of our residents. We consider it a privilege to deliver skilled nursing and rehabilitative care in this community, and we are grateful for the opportunity to do so.
Focused Care at Allenbrook response:
"Focused Post Acute Care Partners launched in 2016 with the aim of bringing the latest in long term care strategies to smaller rural communities of Texas often not afforded the resources of skilled nursing communities in metropolitan locations. We have expanded our footprint in east and west Texas and the Gulf Coast and in the process have taken on the operations of some communities with challenges existing prior to our ownership that we are committed to addressing.
"Focused Care took steps to implement significant changes at Allenbrook in less than a month following a survey that did not meet our standards of care. Our response actions included implementing new nurse leadership and hiring a designated treatment nurse to improve the previous system in place.
"Since September of 2019, Focused Care at Allenbrook has seen a steady decline in complaints reported by families and patients in regulatory survey data outcomes.
"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses the 5-star system to rate skilled nursing communities in 3 categories: Health Inspections, Staffing and Quality Measures. Last year, 8 of Focused Care’s communities were awarded the 5-star in Quality Measures. Focused Care at Allenbrook has raised its Quality Measure rating from a 1 to a 3 – a significant improvement but we are not resting on that accomplishment. We have much more to do.
“Significantly, Focused Care has chosen Baytown area Focused Care communities, including Allenbrook, for the first sites to benefit from innovative technology that will enhance the sleep experience of residents by not only protecting seniors from common infections acquired from mattresses and pillows in health care settings but increasing the comfort with high quality, long-lasting mattresses free of chemicals.
"Focused Care continues to put in place systems designed to improve the quality of care for the residents we are privileged to serve.
"Since we have acquired our long term care communities, we have also:
"Ø Implemented a new Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system to bring state of the art technological capabilities to our care team.
"Ø Reduced the administration of antipsychotics in several of FPACP communities, one by as much as thirty percent and some by more than half.
"Ø Enhanced our standard infection prevention programs to further reduce hospital readmissions to minimize the disruption of patient well-being and increase health outcomes.
"Ø Overhauled our nutrition program to offer only Healthy Menu choices to our residents.
"Ø Instituted a company-wide culture change program designed to redefine the skilled nursing community environment, uplift valued team members and inculcate mutual respect and appreciation within the workplace.
"Ø Achieved gold status for the Best Wellness Employer initiative that recognizes the significant accomplishments of employers dedicated to improving employee health and well-being.
“Change takes time and the regulatory system, while absolutely necessary, can often be complex and more difficult than it has to be. That said, we understand what is asked of us as providers of care to a vulnerable population, and we take seriously our commitment to not only improve the health of our residents but make their lives meaningful while they are in our care.”