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Missouri Nursing Home Resident Dies After Being Left Overnight in Bathtub

A nursing assistant with a past history of abusive and negligent behavior toward nursing home residents is accused of taking 88 year old Lois Moreland to the bathtub at St. Sophia Health & Rehabilitation Center and leaving her overnight to die. Mrs. Moreland’s son is suing the nursing home for his mother’s death, accusing the facility of deliberate understaffing as a cost-saving measure.

Investigation Reveals Nursing Assistant Forgot About Victim
A Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) investigation into the woman’s March 2016 death at the Florissant, Missouri nursing home revealed that the victim’s physician recommended she never be left unattended longer than 30 minutes, while her psychiatrist advised never allowing her to be alone more than 10 minutes. Mrs. Moreland, a former stay-at-home mother and widow, had been suffering from Alzheimer’s, depression, and several other physical ailments. The supervision recommendations of both her physicians were documented in her chart, but were ignored by St. Sophia staff.

During the course of the CMS investigation, it was discovered that the nursing assistant who initially took Mrs. Moreland to the bathtub only remembered her the next morning when she was completing other duties. Investigators also noted that while sitting in the tub, Mrs. Moreland wouldn’t have been able to reach the pull cord to alert staff that she needed help.

The negligence is startling, but all the more so because Lois Moreland was suffering from Alzheimer’s and was never to be left for more than 10 minutes.  As if it were not troubling enough that a nursing assistant would leave an 88 year old in the bathtub, it is equally disturbing to think that the facility’s system of checks and balances didn’t include routinely having night checks on patients that were documented to require it. Had anyone bothered to adhere to Mrs. Moreland’s care plan, she would’ve been quickly discovered  and tragedy likely avoided.

Nursing Assistant with a Past
The Nursing Assistant in question was suspended twice from St. Sophia, once in 2012 and again in 2015. In the first incident, she verbally assaulted a resident who fell, and in an eerily similar situation in 2015, she left a resident unattended in the shower and the resident fell. Each time her suspensions were no longer than 1 day. While CMS discovered the assistant’s prior suspensions by reviewing her employee file, they were told by St. Sophia’s that the actual details of the event weren’t able to be retrieved because they were the property of the previous owner of the nursing home.

According to Nursing Home Compare, the nursing home rating site run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, St. Sophia’s overall rating is 2 stars, or ‘Below Average.’ The facility is for-profit and is run by a Missouri-based company called Midwest Geriatric Management. Midwest Geriatric owns nursing homes in several states, including Iowa and Wisconsin.