State officials slapped a $100,000 fine on a Hemet nursing home owned by Valley Health System in connection with the death of a resident, who died two days after suffering a head injury, the Riverside Press Enterprise reports. Hemet Valley Nursing Home received an AA citation, which is the most severe citation issued by the state for the worst nursing home abuse violations where the nursing home’s negligence can be shown to directly cause the death of the patient, 81-year-old Olga Baroncini.
Baroncini reportedly hit her head on a bed rail. Nursing home staff also knew that the patient was taking two blood thinners, which meant she had an increased risk of bleeding if injured. Baroncini died two days after she suffered the injury from a brain bleed. Baroncini’s family had requested the investigation.
The state investigators’ report shows that the nursing home did not follow any of the required procedures. Baroncini’s medical record did not include the head injury. She had reportedly hit her head against a chair when a physical therapist was visiting her, but the nursing home records stated that she hit her head against a bed rail. Neither the physical therapist nor the nurse on duty thought the woman’s injury was significant, the report said.
My heart goes out to the family of Olga Baroncini. There is no question that the nursing home should be held accountable for the tragic loss her family has suffered.
This woman’s death may have been prevented if the nurse on duty had informed a doctor about the head injury so follow-up tests would have revealed the bleeding in the brain. It is unacceptable that nursing homes fail to follow procedures that have been mandated by the state to protect patients.
A recent study done by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that state inspectors routinely overlook major code violations in nursing homes. In reviews conducted from 2002 to 2007, federal inspectors found that their state-level counterparts missed the most serious violations 15 percent of the time. Following rules and regulations is not an option for nursing homes. These negligent nursing home facilities should pay the price for their poor standards and the injuries they cause.