Jeff Carr got a call from a friend last fall asking if he had heard the news: A nursing home in Nampa where Carr’s father lived was in trouble for harming residents.
That is how Carr, who lives in Portland, learned that state inspectors visited Holly Lane Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in July and found patients left to sit in their own urine and feces, dehydrated and frequently battling infections, crying out for help and having their call lights taken away. One man died after being rushed to the hospital.
Carr would later learn that his father, 87-year-old Jerry Carr, was among the patients whose care was singled out in the inspection report.
Reading the account was like identifying a crucial word in a crossword puzzle, Jeff Carr said.
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“Now I can see how those letters all fit together,” he said. “Now it made sense to me, why he never answered the phone.”
Jerry Carr is suing Holly Lane and its Tennessee-based owner, Orianna Health Systems. The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Boise, seeks
more than $100,000 in damages.
“Throughout his stay at Holly Lane, Carr has been subjected to mistreatment, neglect and/or abuse,” the lawsuit alleges.
“[We] do not agree with the allegations made in the complaint and intend to vigorously defend this case,” Holly Lane’s new administrator, Charles Williams, said in an email to the Statesman.
Lawsuit lists alleged missteps
Jerry Carr has lived in Nampa for about 12 years. Before moving into Holly Lane, he was in an assisted-living center, his son said.
He was living at Holly Lane when he fell in February 2015 and was injured badly enough to need hospitalization and surgery. He returned to Holly Lane from the hospital two months later.
Among his claims are that the nursing home’s staff:
▪ Failed to take the steps necessary to prevent Carr’s fall in February.
▪ Did not change his clothes when he soiled them, did not dress him appropriately and did not shower him or keep him from smelling of urine.
▪ Did not ensure he could use his call light.
▪ Did not treat his pain or provide pain medication as prescribed.
▪ Allowed him to get urinary tract infections.
▪ Did not follow doctor’s orders to keep him hydrated.
▪ Allowed him to contract a MRSA infection.
‘You have to ... trust people in a place like that’
Jeff Carr spoke to the Statesman on behalf of his father, who has dementia and other illnesses.
When he visited his father last June, just before inspectors arrived, “he was doing very poorly,” Jeff Carr said.
The elder Carr had contracted Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, a contagious and potentially life-threatening infection.
Jeff Carr said he never was notified about the problems at Holly Lane. He said the nursing home called him in late July or early August to ask if he had “any concerns” about his father’s care, as part of “an audit,” but provided no other information.
Jerry Carr still lives at Holly Lane. His care is primarily covered by Idaho Medicaid. His son said he is trying to move his father to Portland.
Since learning of the inspection, Jeff Carr said he has been extra diligent about his father’s care. He used to call ahead but now makes surprise visits.
“He’s getting the care he should have been getting since the day he was in there,” Carr said.
His father is doing better now, Carr said. The urinary-tract infections are gone. He is less emotional and forgetful. He is mentally sharper, reading and watching the news and carrying on conversations about current events.
You have to, to some degree, trust people in a place like that. They violated my trust, and they violated my father’s trust.
Jeff Carr, son of Holly Lane patient Jerry Carr
“We were counting on them to care for him at the level of care and support he needs at this stage in his life,” Jeff Carr said. “They failed miserably — and thank God it wasn’t terminally.”
After last year’s state inspection, Holly Lane was barred from taking any new patients while it worked to get back into compliance with federal health and safety rules. The nursing home is one of only two in the state that admit patients who need artificial-respiration machines called ventilators to breathe. (Jerry Carr does not need a ventilator.)
Holly Lane management has changed since the inspection, and the institution regained its ability to take new patients in late December, after passing a second follow-up inspection. The first follow-up inspection, in October, again found serious problems.
As a penalty for the months of noncompliance, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined Holly Lane $2.46 million but reduced the fine by half, to $1.23 million, because Holly Lane did not contest the findings.