HUDSON — An assisted living facility has been given 30 days to make changes after investigators found the facility had incomplete records, was assisting with oxygen therapy without a proper license and had an untrained staffer giving narcotics to residents.
The state recently cited Braybrook assisted living facility for several deficiencies, including allowing an employee to help residents take medicines, including an anti-psychotic drug, even though that staffer had not passed the required course for such duties.
The staffer told investigators that the day after she was hired, "I was passing pills. I had no training or anything." She said she also gave out hydrocodone.
Records showed she helped five residents with their medications between Oct. 1 and Nov. 3.
State rules allow an unlicensed staffer with additional training to help residents take their own medicines, including narcotics, as long as a practitioner has determined they need assistance; and as long as orders are written so that the staffer does not have to exercise judgment regarding how, when or how much of the medicine is taken.
The report did not identify the staffer, but New Port Richey resident David L. Flowers said he filed the complaint with the Agency for Health Care Administration after learning his daughter, Brigitte, was asked to give out narcotics even though she failed her exam to be a certified nursing assistant. Brigitte Flowers was hired in July as a companion caregiver after doing her field work at Braybrook while studying in the nursing program at Pasco-Hernando Community College.
David Flowers said his daughter's hours were cut to zero in retaliation after she refused to continue to hand out medicines.
Jeremy T. Simons, an attorney for Braybrook, said Brigitte Flowers had presented management with her nursing certificate.
But that certificate only showed she had completed PHCC's nursing program. She had not passed the state exam or received the other training needed to help patients with their medications.
Simons described the 27-bed Braybrook as a "family friendly" and "employee friendly" facility and said it had corrected all deficiencies.
Shelisa Coleman, a spokeswoman for the Agency for Health Care Administration, said investigators had done a follow-up visit on Monday but the report had not been released. A check of the agency's website showed Braybrook with an active license.
The report also cited Braybrook for letting staffers assist two residents with oxygen. The law says that only agencies with a speciality license may provide oxygen therapy. Braybrook has a standard license.
According to the inspection, a resident told investigators that she got help from the staff with her portable oxygen tanks because she has macular degeneration and "can't see any of it."
Another resident also said staff helped her adjust her oxygen tanks.
Other deficiencies included failing to document that five of nine staffers had undergone the proper background checks before being allowed direct contact with residents and failing to document that a resident did not have a medical exam within 30 days after being admitted and that another resident had not filled out a state form.
Records show this was not the first time the state cited Braybrook. It was fined $1,500 in 2009 for failing to have its menus reviewed annually by a registered dietitian, failing to document that all staffers were free of tuberculosis and failing to show that all direct care staffers had undergone background checks.
In 2010, it was fined $100 for not enrolling in a state-required database, and in 2011 was fined $1,000 after the water was shut off for not paying the bill. An investigation showed the electric bill also was in arrears for $1,659.
In 2011, Braybrook was cited for failing to refund money to the personal representative of a patient who had died eight days after moving there. The state ordered Braybrook to pay $43,064, with half going to the agency and the other half to the patient's representative. The complaint said the representative, who had paid $15,000 up front, was owed a nearly $14,355 refund. The law allows the state to collect triple the amount if the refund is not made within 45 days of the patient's death.