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Published: Thursday, 4/20/2006

Report cites problems at nursing home of slain man

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Problems found by state investigators at a South Toledo nursing home where authorities allege a resident was beaten to death by his roommate range from not reporting the assault to dust accumulations on heaters.

A 40-page report on Foundation Park Alzheimer's Care Center lists other problems in addition to the facility not reporting three assaults on residents by Sharon John Hawkins, including one that killed Norbert Konwin, to the Ohio Department of Health or Toledo police.

Sara Morman, a health department spokesman, said "a lot" of citations are in the report, and they cover a wide range. "The length of all reports vary depending on the scope and severity of what has happened," she said.

The report states Foundation Park failed to thoroughly investigate the cause of a resident's fractured tibia and to investigate and report a bruise on another resident. It didn't administer eye drops appropriately to a resident and failed to check feeding tube placement and administer feeding tube medications to another resident in accordance with accepted professional standards, according to the report.

The nursing home failed to make sure resident rooms and common areas were free of accident hazards, such as broken towel bars, loose or broken furniture, sharp edges of door plates, and that there was a centrally located water fountain.

State surveyors found other problems, such as ceiling vents with grime and black mold buildup, heating units with heavy dust accumulations, curtains falling off bent rods that were pulling away from the walls, torn chairs, and a "lingering, offensive, stale urine odor" in areas.

They said the facility didn't keep the kitchen in clean and orderly, and the dietary staff didn't use the appropriate mixture of sanitizing solution for surface cleaning of work areas and for use in a compartment sanitizing sink.

It also was cited for a handful of cases in which nurses did not wash their hands before or after giving medication.

A statement Tuesday from Foundation Park indicates the facility is preparing a required plan of correction, but that it doesn't agree with the state agency's findings.

The health department said it will cut off payment of Medicare and Medicaid for new admissions May 6. It recommends the facility pay tens of thousands of dollars in penalties, and that a federal agency terminate its Medicare and Medicaid provider agreements by Oct. 7.

Ms. Morman called the remedy and recommendations "substantial."

The report comes a month after the towel bar attack on Mr. Konwin, a 77-year-old Alzheimer's patient. Mr. Hawkins, 62, who has schizophrenia and dementia, is charged with murder in Mr. Konwin's death March 24.

During an interview with state investigators, two nurse's aides said during the week of the attack, Mr. Hawkins' behavior "was more 'bizarre' than usual." He talked to himself more, poured pop on his head, and didn't wear socks.

One of the aides told a nurse about his behavior changes before March 10.

The nurse said a few days before the attack, she told a nursing supervisor Mr. Hawkins was acting "strange." But there was no evidence the supervisor or other nursing staff re-evaluated him or told the physician of his behavior changes before March 10, the report states.

Contact Christina Hall at

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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