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Pasadena nursing homes cited for poor care

Golden Cross Health Care, which reportedly failed to provide residents with adequate care, is at 1450 N. Fair Oaks in Pasadena.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Two local nursing homes failed to provide residents with adequate care and in some cases endangered patients, according to state investigators.

Golden Cross Health Care and Sunrise Convalescent Hospital, both on Fair Oaks Avenue, were cited in December inspections by the California Department of Justice’s Operation Guardians. Operation Guardians is led by state Medi-Cal fraud and elder abuse investigators and is run in cooperation with federal and local health and safety agencies.

The reports on the two Pasadena homes and 12 others around the state were made public this week by a private group, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

Sunrise Convalescent Hospital, at 1640 North Fair Oaks Ave., allowed residents who lacked the mental capacity to make decisions to sign their own Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or staff made decisions for them, according to the report. In some cases the wishes of patients were ignored.

In one instance, a nurse reported to supervisors that a female patient’s feeding tube was malfunctioning, but the issue was not raised with the patient’s physician. The woman’s condition deteriorated, and though she had asked that life-sustaining treatment be used no matter what, she was not treated or taken to a hospital. She died a week after the nurse reported the problematic feeding tube, according to the report.

Sunrise residents also complained to investigators of cold temperatures, stolen or lost items, and that they did not receive medication on a timely basis.

The nursing home was fined $13,000 in 2010 for neglect or other problems, according to Department of Public Health records.

A nursing supervisor at Sunrise Convalescent Hospital, who declined to give her name, said the facility will dispute the findings when given the opportunity.

Golden Cross Health Care, at 1450 N. Fair Oaks Ave., failed to treat and prevent wounds, offered poor psychotic drug practices and failed to note cases of dehydration, according to state investigators.

An open wound on one resident was found to contain maggots, according to the report.

In 2008 and 2010 state officials substantiated complaints regarding issues including patient care and treatment of sores.

A representative at Golden Cross declined to comment.

Pat McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said the state does not have the resources to monitor California’s 7,800 residential care facilities and said the state Department of Public Health is slow to follow up on problem facilities.

“By the time the Department of Public Health gets out there, they’re not going to be able to substantiate anything because [facilities have] had ample time to clean up their act,” McGinnis said.

Significant change often stems from lawsuits filed against facilities, McGinnis said.

In a statement, Department of Public Health officials said the agency inspects all nursing homes an average of once a year. The agency, the statement said, “is currently reviewing the files for each of the 14 facilities listed on the report.”

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