Families still fear for patient safety at Independence nursing home riddled with problems

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Last summer, FOX4 told you about repeated health and safety violations at an Independence nursing home.

Redwood of Independence even briefly lost its Medicare funding as a result of problems uncovered by federal investigators.

Now, a new 127-page federal inspection shows the facility has made some improvements in the past year, but there are still glaring errors families feel are putting patient health and safety at risk.

Austyn Reed is relieved her great-grandfather Lloyd is home. The 85-year-old is still recovering from an infection, which required a hospital stay.

Before the family had a chance to speak up, they said Lloyd was transferred to Redwood of Independence for rehab.

"They weren't expecting him at all," said Britt Carpenter, Lloyd's son.

The family raced to Redwood and said from the start, things were a mess. He had doctor's orders that nurses were to follow to help his infection heal.

"They sat him in a chair, left him there without his leg propped. He couldn't reach the call light button to even be able to get over there and tell them he needed his leg propped," Reed said.

And they said the facility itself wasn't any better.

"The room was filthy," Carpenter said.

They snapped photos showing vomit on a chair, dirt everywhere and soiled linens.

Federal investigators also noted unsanitary conditions during a recent inspection, including dirty floors, oxygen machines without filters and filth on medical equipment.

"I've had friends since this has happened, and it's been on Facebook that has told me their loved ones had been there, and if they'd known he was going there, they would've said hell no," Carpenter said.

Austyn said her great-granpda also missed critical insulin doses.

"I had to go get it, two hours and 20 minutes later," she said.

The newest federal survey done just last month does show far fewer medication errors compared to last year's inspection.

But many other problems persist.

Redwood's facing a new wrongful death lawsuit, which alleges a patient died from "negligent care" and failure to properly clean a tracheotomy, leading to "several infections" and bedsores.

Federal investigators report several patients complained they're not "treated with dignity and respect," waiting hours to get help for basic needs.

Instead of getting help to the bathroom, patients said they're often left soaked in urine and don't get showers for weeks, leaving them feeling "greasy" and "dirty."

And nearly every resident told inspectors the nursing home "runs out of food daily" and often doesn't even have basics for a grilled cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, many times serving residents only a "jelly sandwich."

Redwood's director told federal investigators she was "unaware" food supply was a problem and that a new dietary manager was being hired.

But the Carpenter family said they got fed up with excuses and pulled Lloyd out, setting him up with home health care.

They now want to warn others and hope more severe action is taken against Redwood.

"They need to be shut down," Carpenter said.

FOX4 talked with the director at Redwood of Independence who demanded we not use her name and declined to comment about the ongoing concerns there. Redwood's corporate team has also not provided a response.

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