Nursing Home Volunteer Speaks Out About Alleged Violations - 8 News NOW

Nursing Home Volunteer Speaks Out About Alleged Violations

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LAS VEGAS -- A former nursing home volunteer is coming forward to 8 News NOW claiming she witnessed potential abuse happening for more than a year inside a local facility.

A report released Tuesday by Families for Better Care ranked Nevada nursing homes among the worst in the nation. Inspectors cited every single home in the state for violations.

TLC in Henderson was given one of the worst ratings. About the time state inspectors began reviewing the facility, volunteer Elizabeth Olson said nursing home managers told her to leave.

Olson said, on several occasions, she tried to report alleged mistreatment of residents. She wrestled with the decision for more than a year.

"Am I doing more good by being there and keeping my mouth shut and making somebody smile and happy? Or, should I voice my concern and take the chances of rocking the boat," she said.

Olson said she was haunted by what she heard behind a privacy curtain.

"I heard a slapping sound, a scream," she said. "I was asked to alter and rewrite notes to only express happy comments and never ever document a patient complaint."

State inspectors found several issues at the facility. They discovered TLC staffers did little to help a resident prone to falling. Another man died in the emergency room after he was discharged from TLC with abdominal pain and nausea. In another incident, staffers were too busy to watch a man and he ended up leaving his room and going to a casino.

State inspectors gave TLC the worst rating possible in March of 2012.

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8 News NOW spoke with the Long Term Care Ombudsman's office, which is the agency designed to advocate and investigate all claims of alleged abuse.

"I think it's important to say that the state ombudsman program takes this very seriously and we are constantly working to improve the quality of life and care for residents," said Heather Korbulic, the Ombudsman.

She said, they are retraining state staffers to focus on "person centered care." However, Olsen said, it is going to take those who run nursing homes to institute real change.

"The only way to fix a problem is to take ownership and that is something that I never saw happen," Olson said.

She added, TLC escorted her from the building when she tried to report problems. Now, she's left wondering what happened to those residents she felt were in danger. TLC staff declined to comment on the allegations.

Olson said, she went to the Long Term Care Ombudsman's office to file several complaints about what she saw at TLC and never heard anything back. The Department of Health and Human Services says the Ombudsman's responsibility is to investigate all individual claims and work with state officials to issue venalities.

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