Northland nursing & rehab facility under microscope after scathing federal survey

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Northland nursing and rehab facility is under the microscope following a scathing federal survey. Now, a former patient's daughter is hoping to raise awareness.

Barb Swan has a big job in front of her in taking care of her 82-year-old mom, Mary. But she said quitting her job and moving her mom in was the best option after six-months of alleged neglect at a Northland nursing home.

"There were so many things that went wrong," Swan said.

Her mom has survived four strokes. The first three required rehab, and she got better. But the last one damaged her brain function..

"When she got done with rehab, they said I couldn't bring her home unless someone was here with her all the time," Swan said.

Mary was getting rehab at a facility owned by the Tutera group in Independence, but they didn't have any open beds for long-term care. She learned Tutera had just opened this brand new facility, Tiffany Springs Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, right up the road from where she lived.

"I thought this is great! Owned by same company. She'll get the same quality care she's been getting," Swan said.

But Swan said nothing could be further from the truth.

On one occasion, Mary was apparently given someone else's medication, and Swan claims her mom didn't get showers or get taken to use the toilet regularly. Swan told FOX4 a December incident was the last straw.

"She's sitting in her recliner, with urine soaked all the way down to her knees. The chair is soaked. The pillow she was laying on is soaked. She's wearing a brief that holds a lot of urine and no one had taken her to the bathroom all day," Swan said.

Repeated incidents like that, left her mom's back side red with rashes, and Barb's now learning she's not alone. Those are just a sampling of mistakes found in a recent site visit by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

"I wasn't happy," former patient Mary Swan said.

"What was wrong?" FOX4 asked.

"Everything," Mary said.

A nearly 150-page report found Tiffany Springs Rehab and Health Care Center had nurses who didn't wash their hands or change gloves. Two residents reported having cash and credit cards stolen.

Several patients didn't get basic care, like trips to the toilet and showers. There were dozens of errors in correctly delivering medications.

Call lights were reportedly left unattended so long, at least seven patients had accidents waiting to get help.

But perhaps most disturbing of all, a resident confided in a medication tech that she may have been sexually assaulted. That employee reported the patient was "sobbing uncontrollable tears" after they "woke up to find their pants and underwear on the floor."

As required by a law implemented following previous FOX4 investigations, Tiffany Springs did call police. A doctor and the patient's family were also notified. A medical exam revealed the patient had "bruising on inner and outer thighs."

Four female staff members were suspended pending the investigation, which Kansas City police tell FOX4 is still active.

Barb Swan is now on a mission, hoping to get better laws on patient care in Missouri, and to look out for patients who cannot speak for themselves.

"There are people there who don't have anyone to be their advocate. Who is going to speak for them if I don't do it?" Swan said.

Tutera, the parent company of the company which owns and operates Tiffany Springs Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, issued the following statement:

"We take all concerns regarding the care, safety and well-being of Tiffany Springs Rehabilitation & Health Care residents, families and community members very seriously. These recent survey results are inconsistent with our longstanding commitment to providing the highest standards of quality care.

In response to inquiries regarding matters involving current or former residents at Tiffany Springs, it is important to understand that any discussion about a specific resident’s care would be in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

We are constantly working to enhance our care to residents and had identified areas for improvement in advance of the survey. We have replaced virtually the entire administrative team employed by Tiffany Springs with a new, highly experienced administrative team committed to providing top-quality care to residents. This new team has been hard at work to resolve issues raised in the survey.

Tiffany Springs believes the issues raised in the survey have each been appropriately addressed in a Plan of Correction that has been submitted. We believe the State’s determination that Tiffany Springs is in substantial compliance with all applicable rules and regulations governing the facility will be forthcoming."

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