Doctor Gives D.C. Nursing Home Failing Grade

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Doctor Gives D.C. Nursing Home Failing Grade 
 WASHINGTON – There is a warning out about the care, or lack thereof, loved ones may receive at a local nursing home.

An emergency room doctor tells ABC 7/NewsChannel 8 reporter Stephen Tschida he routinely sees patients from the Grant Park Care Center nursing home facility in NE on the verge of death because of neglect.

"She would have died; she was dying," said Carolyn Long of her relative at the nursing home. On a number of occasions they had to take her to the hospital; I believe it might have been dehydration at one point in time."

Carolyn has since removed her aunt from the Grant Park facility, but an emergency room doctor who treats patients from nursing homes in the D.C. Area says the patients he frequently sees form the Grant Park facility are in critical condition.

"They are coming in with acute kidney problems. They are coming in with severe pneumonias. They are coming in with, you know, malnutrition," said Jerry Kasunic, D.C. Long-term care Ombudsman. "They have been malnourished and they’ve been just flat out neglected while in the nursing home."

As a result, ABC 7/NewsChannel 8 obtained inspection reports from the D.C. Department of Health that were done in February and May of 2008. The reports detail an abundance of deficiencies at the care facility such as, "nurse failed to notify physician of resident dehydration, resident with weight changes and of anemia."

As a result, Kasunic, says his staff "has actually filed over 100 complaints with the Department of Health," calling Grant Park one, if not, the worst he’s seen.

"The neglect and abuse we have seen there is unattended wound care [and] dehydration that has led to malnutrition," added Kasunic.

Sandra Durham, executive director at Grant Park, issued the following statement:

"The staff are committed to a culture of continuous quality improvement" and "the center hired a new director of nursing and a compliance officer."

Meanwhile, the night before we spoke with him, Doctor Kasunic said he treated a man from Grant Park on the brink of death.

"The cause was merely dehydration… he clearly was not receiving any kind of fluids and he was a non-verbal patient, so he couldn’t say I would like a glass of water," said Doctor Kasunic.

Both Doctor Kasunic and the inspector for the D.C. Department of Health agree the city’s health department needs to get more aggressive with policing nursing homes. However, a request for a comment on Grant Park from the director of the D.C. Health Department was not returned.

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