Wisconsin has 60 one-star nursing home facilities

Stethoscope at nursing home
Posted at 1:13 PM, May 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-14 23:36:08-04

Elizabeth Parker said her 69-year-old mother, Susan Mcavoy, had her toe amputated, and for rehabilitation, the hospital sent her to Kenosha Estates Rehab and Care Center.

“I look over and saw a bug crawling across the bedspread,” said Mcavoy.

“I said, ‘Oh, no. I’m out of here,” she continued.

“She said, 'Please don't leave me here,' and she was bawling,” said Parker.

Parker removed her mom from the home after one hour.

The I-team went through public inspection reports for this facility. In 2017, an inspector noted on the third shift of the dementia unit, “… there is only one CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) for all 19 residents with dementia.”

The director of the dementia unit told inspectors it’s a safety risk having only one CNA and that he “asked management for another CNA on third shift but that request was denied.”

Federal guidelines don’t require a specific staffing ratio. That same year, the inspector noted, a resident suffered a broken shoulder and it was not immediately reported. According to documents, the CNA on staff did not report the injury because “she thought the nurse knew about it.”

These public inspection reports are easily accessed online for any Medicare-certified facility in the country. But what’s not posted online are complaints of abuse and neglect. Since the start of 2018, the state received almost 2,000 complaints about nursing homes throughout Wisconsin.

“I look over and saw a bug crawling across the bedspread.” — former nursing home resident Susan Mcavoy

In an open records request, TODAY’S TMJ4 I-team came across reports of caregivers at different nursing homes “leaving the resident on the toilet,” and another caregiver “harassed and intimidated a resident by shining a flashlight in the resident's eyes." Other cases say caregivers "... took money from residents on different occasions" and ..."stole narcotic medication from a resident."

The I-team crunched the numbers and uncovered since 2016 Wisconsin nursing homes have paid about $7 million in federal fines for all penalties.

In 2017, Kenosha Estates Rehab and Care Center was fined $26,000 because "... the facility did not provide appropriate treatment and services to address a resident's mental disorder ..." and for not monitoring a patient with a documented medical issue that resulted in a hospital admission.

The I-team called Kenosha Estates Rehab and Care Center several times, but we have not received a call back.

Parker says after her experience, she decided it was best for her mom to stay at home.

“There is quality of life, and we're entitled to have it,” said Mcavoy.

Click here to read how the state responded to this story.