Duluth nursing home altercations detailed in state reportWords were exchanged, and then blows. Someone blocked another person’s exit. The language grew coarse — “cover-the-children’s-ears” sort of language. It’s a part of daily life, but the setting might surprise you.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Words were exchanged, and then blows. Someone blocked another person’s exit. The language grew coarse — “cover-the-children’s-ears” sort of language. There were threats. People stood between two parties, preventing a situation from escalating.
It’s a part of daily life, but the setting might surprise you. Three such altercations occurred last year and early this year in a Duluth nursing home — a nursing home that celebrates the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi, who said, “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.”
The incidents on Aug. 26, Oct. 15 and on New Year’s Day at Franciscan Health Center, 3910 Minnesota Ave., came to light in a standard survey of the facility by the Minnesota Departments of Health and Public Safety that was posted on the health department’s website earlier this week.
The survey, sent to Franciscan Health Center administrator Robert Dahl with a cover letter on Feb. 15, cited several “Level F” deficiencies. These are described as “widespread deficiencies that constitute no actual harm with potential for more than minimal harm that is not immediate jeopardy,” in the convoluted language of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. They are considered mid-level issues, and a nursing facility cited with them is always given a chance to make corrections before any penalties are applied.
Dahl referred questions to Amy Doll, an attorney from Morris, Minn., who said the health department had followed up with a March 2 letter accepting the facility’s plan of correction, meaning it is cleared of the deficiencies.
The Franciscan Health Center wasn’t cited for the fact that the incidents occurred or for its handling of them. The facility erred only in failing to report the incidents to the health department immediately, the document says. It spells out the incidents in detail, but it doesn’t name names. Residents are referred to by the letter “R” followed by a number.
Following are excerpts of reports from the three incidents, with expletives deleted:
All three incidents were reported to the state either two or three days after they occurred, according to the documents. The health department deems that to be an unacceptable delay. All three occurred on weekends, the reports note.
For such altercations to occur in a nursing facility isn’t all that unusual, Doll said.
“In the nursing home situation, you’re going to have occasional altercations,” she said. “It’s sort of the nature of the beast. This is their home. They’re protective of their home.”
Moreover, some residents undergo chemical changes in their brains that cause them to become more aggressive, Doll said.
The facility’s correction plan reports that staff were retrained and/or disciplined, as appropriate, and that incidents now were being reported both to the administrator and state agency as soon as the facts could be determined.
Franciscan Health Center’s goal is to not receive any citations, Doll said.
“We take all these reports seriously,” she said. “We really do want to address it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”