Bellflower nursing facility fined $100K by state health department

A skilled nursing facility in Bellflower was fined $100,000 Tuesday by the California Department of Public Health because the facility failed to provide proper care to a patient, which led to his death in December.

Woodruff Convalescent Center received the severe penalty because the department said it found deficiencies and that it failed to adhere to state and federal laws and regulations that nursing homes must follow.

On Jan. 4, the center received an unannounced visit from the department over complaints from a resident who fell several times, according to a department report.

The resident, an 82-year-old blind man with dementia who was taking blood thinner medication, lived at the facility for nine weeks.

According to the department report, the resident fell five times within the nine weeks he was there. One of those falls resulted in him suffering a head injury.

The facility said restlessness and anxiousness were contributing factors in the falls, according to the report. In an effort to keep the man from falling, he was given a non-self-release seatbelt while he was in his wheelchair instead of a self-release belt as ordered by his doctor.

The report said the man became agitated by the restraint and nothing was done to evaluate and revise his care.

In early November, the man fell for the fifth time and suffered a cut to his forehead. A licensed nurse could not stop the bleeding and called 911. He was taken to a hospital and had to undergo surgery to stop a hemorrhage on the surface of his brain, according to the report.

The man was also placed on a feeding tube. He was taken to another nursing facility for hospice care in late November and died on Dec. 4.

The department said the facility failed to provide the necessary care and attention the resident needed, It said he was not properly supervised, did not receive neurological checks after each fall, did not receive any assessments when he received his safety belt, staff failed to monitor his behavior and safety with the restraint and failed to assess his care plan after each fall, among other violations.

Woodruff Convalescent Center responded to the report and said it would take steps to fix the issues. The full report, along with the center's response and plan of action, can be viewed by clicking here and reading the March 30, 2017, assessment.

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