State Investigating Allegations of Abuse Occurring Inside Colber - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

State Investigating Allegations of Abuse Occurring Inside Colbert Nursing Home

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COLBERT, OK--- The Oklahoma State Department of Health is putting pressure on a Colbert nursing home to improve its operations. In the past, the nursing home has been cited by the department for more than 60 deficiencies, but now department workers said they're being cited for their most serious one yet.

Recently, the department looked into allegations of abuse happening between residents living at Southern Pointe Living Center. The state concluded that some residents were being harmed and that some workers at the nursing home weren't doing enough to stop it.

In late March, state regulators investigated complaints of abuse between some residents living in the facility's memory unit. According to their investigation, two of the unit's residents were physically abusing three other residents.

"Residents were hitting each other," Oklahoma State Department of Health's Chief of Long Term Care Dorya Huser said.  "There were lacerations with one, there was a hematoma with another and we had a resident who was knocked down."

Since all of the residents involved in these abusive altercations had diseases such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia, Huser said they can't be held responsible for their actions.

"You can't have a very high level of accountability for the dementia residents," Huser said. "That's one of the reasons they're in a facility that is designed to take of them and make sure harm doesn't occur."

Instead, Huser said workers at the nursing home are responsible for preventing such incidents.

"Workers said they did not have protocols in place and that they had not trained all of the staff members on how to handle these types of residents," Huser said.

Since this is the case, the nursing home was cited for a "Level H" deficiency, which means that actual harm to residents was occurring inside the nursing home.

"When people put their family members into a nursing home, they expect a certain amount of responsibility from the nursing home to take care of their family and when that doesn't happen, that's wrong," Calera resident Bart Reese said.

Department officials said they told staff workers that significant changes needed to be made and that they had ten days to make a correction plan so future abuse would be prevented. Officials said the nursing home made a correction plan on time and last week, state regulators visited the facility again to see if they were in compliance.

KTEN News is still waiting on the report to see if the nursing home is now in compliance. If it is, Huser said all deficiencies will be cleared and a letter will be issued to the nursing home telling them what their final penalty will be.

KTEN News tried to talk to nursing home employees, but they declined comment. Huser said the Colbert Police Department is also investigating.