Broken Promises: South Grove Lodge investigation
(ABC 6 News) – A story you’ll only see on ABC 6 News and even the people involved are surprised by what we’ve now uncovered.
After months of state investigations, new findings point to a shockingly flawed system where even with state oversight people are being neglected inside an Austin assisted living facility and it seems that nothing’s being done to stop it.
“There comes a certain time where things have to be fixed because they’re paying for this but it’s they don’t have enough workers it’s not my fault. Have the state take the license away until they get compliant. There has to be an answer for all this abuse that’s going on,” Chris Hogan said.
It’s easy to feel their frustration when you find out what they’ve been up against.
“It’s a slap in the face” Cindy Walters said.
We were there when an investigator from the Minnesota Health Department discussed the findings of an investigation to Chris Hogan and Cindy Walters – who have been fighting hard to make happen.,
“How do you feel now that you’ve heard from her?” anchor James Wilcox asked.
“More confused.” Walters said.
For more than a year these two have been detailing and documenting problems and broken promises at a place Cindy’s mother, LaVonne, called home for years.
South Grove Lodge assisted living facility in Austin – a place that changed with new owners and new management.
“They keep lying to us, James. They know they”re wrong,” said Walters and Hogan.
The state investigation into South Grove Lodge only confirmed what Chris, Cindy, and numerous former employees say they have known all along.
“I couldn’t work there anymore,” said Halye Culbert.
In a 30-page state rapid response investigative report, the state has now determined the facility violated regulations and policies and ignored health conditions and the overall safety of elderly residents like Cindy’s mom.
“And these are medications that could mean the difference between life and death?”
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Chris and Cindy replied.
According to the report, Cindy’s mother LaVonne, and at least three other residents of South Grove Lodge were repeatedly given medication in wrong doses at the wrong times and sometimes not given prescribed medication at all.
Over three months, LaVonne was not given her inhaler more than 60 times.
“And there’s more on the list,” anchor James Wilcox asked.
“Of where they didn’t give her,” Walters replied.
For more than two months straight she didn’t receive any of her antidepressants. And she went multiple days in a row without insulin which she takes for her diabetes.
“It shouldn”t be like this,” Hogan said.
One of the other residents mentioned in the report had half a dozen kinds of medications he didn’t receive totaling xx pills in just 30 days.
Similar to the other two residents people who suffered conditions like heart disease Alzheimer, kidney disease, and depression.
Investigators with the health departments determined the actions substantiated neglect.
The only allegations that were substantiated. Allegations of abuse – inconclusive. Despite these images of the dark bruise on LaVonne’s ear.
And regarding morphine that disappeared belonging to LaVonne. State investigators couldn’t determine who took it but did find the facility failed to have an effective system in place to track narcotics.
In a claim of financial exploitation was also ruled inconclusive. According to the report, the state ordered South Grove Lodge to make corrections in at least 8 different areas.
The report says the facility didn’t follow policies failed to provide an internal investigation report as well as the narcotic logbook which records morphine counts.
It also found South Grove Lodge didn’t notify police within the 24-hour requirement when Lavonne’s morphine disappeared.
It took the facility a week to report. And the facility also wasn’t keeping accurate records of its residents and wasn’t properly documenting which staff members were handing out medications and when or why the meds weren’t being given.
The facility also didn’t have a licensed nurse on staff at all times. Employees reported they had to keep track of medications and provide care they weren’t properly trained for.
For Chris and Cindy, it’s proof that their efforts haven’t been in vain.
All the documents and files and folders are pieces of information that could potentially impact someone’s life. And it’s why they’ll continue to fight because they say what happened at South Grove Lodge – isn’t right.
“It needs to change. It needs to change,” Walters said.
South Grove Lodge has not responded to our request for comment on this story.
ABC 6 News will continue to follow this story and bring you the very latest once we learn more.