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Death leads to scrutiny of Grace Woods senior facility



Published: Fri, June 8, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

Fired care assisant faces charge of patient neglect

By William K. Alcorn

alcorn@vindy.com

NILES

A state investigation into the April 9 death of an 84-year-old resident of Grace Woods Senior Living con- cluded conditions at the facility at the time constituted a “real and present danger” to residents.

The resident who died, Eva Gorosics, wandered away from her room at the assisted-living facility early April 9 and was found dead of apparent hypothermia in the facility’s parking lot about 6:30 a.m., according to Niles police.

Gorosics was one of two residents in Building 2 at Grace Woods, 730 Youngstown-Warren Road, who was cognitively impaired and exhibited wandering tendencies, according to an investigation by the Ohio Department of Health, which also found that Grace Woods had failed to provide adequate staff to monitor residents.

In an April 23 letter to Edward Fabian, Grace Woods administrator, after a state license survey conducted April 13, the ODH Bureau of Regulatory Compliance ordered the facility to correct several violations or face possible loss of its license.

On May 17, however, staff from ODH’s Akron District Office conducted a follow-up inspection and determined Grace Woods had “substantially corrected all licensure violations,” including assigning additional staff to the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. It also said ODH would continue to monitor Grace Woods’ license compliance status.

Grace Woods officials declined to comment on the matter Thursday.

At the time of Gorosics’ death, only one resident-care assistant, Andrea D. Clark, 27, of Arms Drive in Liberty, was on duty.

Clark, subsequently fired from her job according to the ODH report, is charged with patient neglect in Gorosics’ death. She pleaded innocent to the second-degree misdemeanor charge at her arraignment June 1 and was released on personal recognizance. Her pretrial hearing is July 2.

She was arrested at her residence early June 1 by Liberty police on a warrant issued by Niles Municipal Court and turned over to Niles police, who transported her directly to her arraignment.

Gorosics was in her room at 4 a.m. when Clark checked on her but was missing at 6 a.m., according to Niles police, who were notified at 6:30 a.m. after a search of the other residents’ rooms.

Niles Capt. Ken Criswell, chief of the detective division, said at the time that a facility alarm system designed to alert employees when a door opened may not have been working properly.

“I think there was a malfunction, but there was no time-keeping mechanism to verify that,” Criswell said Thursday, adding, “When we tested the alarm, it went off once and the next time it didn’t.”

Criswell said the case is not complete and that additional charges are possible.

City Prosecutor Terry Swauger said some malfunction of the door alarm may have occurred, but that does not excuse Clark from her responsibility to ensure the safety of the residents.

“The lady [Gorosics] died of hypothermia. It all could have been prevented had she [Clark] fulfilled her duties,” Swauger said.

According to the ODH investigation, the night of Gorosics’ death was not the first time she and another resident of Building 2, which had 30 residents, had wandered.

On April 3, another female resident crawled out her bedroom window. She was seen by a neighbor who called Niles police. Grace Woods staff was unaware she was missing until she was returned by police, according to the ODH report.

Since then, that resident has been discharged and sent to a skilled-nursing facility, and additional staff has been added to the overnight shift. Staff also has been given specific protocol to follow to ensure the safety of residents who wander.

In an interview April 9 with ODH, Fabian said an internal investigation determined that a motion sensor on the ceiling of the therapy-room side of the exit door disarmed the alarm system on the door when it swung open into the therapy room, enabling Gorosics to open the door without the alarm sounding.

Fabian told the ODH investigator he thought Gorosics got outside by walking through the therapy room, up a ramp and through another door into a corridor that would allow exit to the front of the building and into the parking lot.

Clark told the ODH investigator she had told facility nurses that there was too much work for one person, including doing laundry cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms in addition to monitoring residents.

Gorosics was supposed to be checked every 30 minutes, and at 4 a.m. was in her room. When Clark checked at 5:30 or 6 a.m., Gorosics was not there.

Clark said she did not hear any door alarms and that in her search for Gorosics, she found the back therapy room door open.

A Trumbull County coroner’s investigator said a ruling on the cause of Gorosic’s death is pending completion of the police investigation.


Comments

1nojimbo(223 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Warehousing of the elderly for profit. Say hello to the future if you're lucky enough to live to 80 or 90. Let's see, 30 residents which means the owners get at least $2000 a day in room and board, probably closer to $3000. ONE staff person on night shift (1/3 of total staffing need for the day) at 8 hours times maybe $8 per hour = $64. I'm guessing their labor costs are way less than $1000 a day. Even with food, utilities, and assorted building costs, there must be a lot of money to be made --- especially if you tell ONE employee to look after 30 people.

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2youngstownsteve(75 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

The criminal charges should have been filed against the administrator for having only one employee on duty to "care" for 30 patients, do laundry and clean kitchen and bathrooms.
This money pit should be closed!

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3fcb(320 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

We need to change the system.Put prisoners in the nursing homes where they are not fed,bathed,or watched.Where they are abused by staff members and left alone to fend for themselves. Then take the elderly and put them in the prisons where they will be checked on every hour,given three meals a day,top quality medical treatment,every kind of entertainment you can think of,taken outside into the sunshine every day.Also given any legal help they need. THAT,my friends will make it right
!!

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4city_dweller(193 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Hold on. This is specific to one nursing home. The majority in this area are wonderful places to live and visit. (if you don't believe me, try volunteering at one).

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5steelwagon(284 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Wow talk about the s/h/i/t rolling downhill!!
How can anyone reasonably expect 1 min.wage employee to clean the facility and look after and care for 30 old folks with special needs on her own ?

The admn.of this place knows that's an impossible task for one person to do properly but they're to damn cheap to hire and pay for the extra help needed.

Profits above all else seems to be the case here.
And the attitude of "what the hell they're just forgotten old folks and nobody will care"
Shame on the owners and admn.for allowing this sorry and dangerous situation to exist!!

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6hellokitty(161 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

fcb summed it up perfectly. Under the current system, prisoners are coddled, while the elderly are subjected to less than humane conditions. Even in the "good" NH's, staffing is inadequate, and residents' needs are ignored.

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7DwightK(1250 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Oh yeah, the midnight shift worker getting paid peanuts is on trial while the administrators who are responsible for scheduling and building maintenance get off with no charges. That makes sense.

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8kensgirl(590 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

You're right Dwight! I don't always agree with you but you hit the nail on the head. I know from experience what poor staffing exists in such places.. It ALWAYS comes down to the almighty buck. People would not believe what I saw and experienced in such places. Horrifying!!! I hope a lot of you upper management people will one day pay for your awful sins against not only the elderly but against our children as well. Shame!!!

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9Atownchic37(4 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

The owner/administrator should be charged for this also! As a former employee i can tell you it was all about money , nurses working 12 to 14 hours a day caring for 74 patients with 1 nurses assistant per building and there were 3 buildings! He also was taken to court by a former employee for not paying overtime for hours worked, that employee won and i believe it was in federal court too! Hes only after making money its never the residents or the employees! I also know his administration assistant also was terminated from a job she worked previously with him. While she was collecting unemployment he was paying "under the table" she too covers for him! Ohio needs to investigate these 2! Its a sad situation for the resident and her family but ohio needs to dig and they will find talk to some previous employees!

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10CountryGirl51(196 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

This is sad ! But i blame the nursing home admin for this ! They are only required by law to check on patients and turn them every two hrs. But she maybe had to be checked more often. But to give one person all the responsiblity that was given is rediculous ! They want to make their money but not to staff a place !

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