State: Patients mistreated at Lenoir City nursing home

Kristi L. Nelson

State surveyors investigating complaints about a Lenoir City nursing home found some patients were mistreated and neglected.

In a survey conducted April 21-23, the state cited Baptist Health Care Center, 700 Williams Ferry Road in Lenoir City, for several deficiencies related to patient care and staffing.

One citation involved a patient with dementia, depression and seizure disorder. The report said a certified nursing assistant “inserted the fingers of a partially inflated latex glove into the mouth of the resident while making sexually suggestive comments about the resident in the presence of four other staff members.” The CNA was not suspended, the state said, and the facility did not interview witnesses, report the incident to the resident’s family, or report the incident to the state, all of which violated the nursing home’s Abuse Prevention Program policy.

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C. Kenny Cooper, president-treasurer for Brentwood-based Tennessee Baptist Adult Homes Inc., Baptist Health Care Center’s parent company, gave a differing account. Cooper said the March incident involved a staff member “joking around in a resident’s room,” and that the staffer was terminated after other employees reported it and the facility’s director investigated.

“In the course of this ‘horseplay,’ the resident was at most touched on the face with an inflated latex glove,” Cooper said. “This incident was later investigated by Adult Protective Services and by the state Department of Health as part of its regular annual survey of all nursing homes in Tennessee. All of the investigations concluded that the resident was not harmed.”

The report also said two other residents at the 104-bed nursing home suffered when their care plans were not followed. One resident had a hip fracture and was not given an abduction pillow, nor were other precautions followed to keep the hip from worsening, including the position the resident was seated in a pedal chair.

The other resident, who had multiple health conditions, was at risk for skin breakdown and was supposed to have an air mattress on the bed, checked monthly. Surveyors found the air mattress, while on the resident’s bed, was not plugged in or inflated.

The report also cited the nursing home for not properly posting nurse staffing data, and for charging CNAs for a workbook, which violates state policy that prohibits facilities for charging their nurse aides employees for any part of mandatory training, including textbooks and materials.

The state said Baptist Health Care Center has not yet submitted “an acceptable plan of correction.”

Cooper said after the March incident, “Baptist Health Care Center provided our caretakers additional training about the high standard of care required in caring for our residents and the importance of reporting any incident that could be considered inappropriate to a supervisor immediately.”