Two separate abuse incidents at the same Cleveland, Ohio nursing home have raised questions about the overall state of care in the state’s care facilities. In one case, a staff member intentionally sprayed cleaning solution into the eyes of a man who was unable to move or speak. The second involved a patient who died after staff failed to clean his breathing apparatus tube as directed by a physician.

Both abuse complaints occurred at the Park East Care and Rehab Center, a 218-bed nursing home in Beachwood. According to the federal government’s Nursing Home Compare system, Park East has the lowest possible score at one out of five stars. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created the rating system to help consumers wisely choose care homes. They also fined Park East $22,870 for other care lapses preceding these two recent abuse reports. This is the largest fine levied against an Ohio nursing home.

The first incident involved a former nurse’s aide who had worked at Park East for six weeks. 26-year-old Chrishelle Worley pleaded guilty in criminal court to the first-degree misdemeanor of patient abuse. Worley was given six months in jail but had her sentence suspended to a year probation after she admitted to spraying cleaning solution into a disabled 41-year-old resident’s face and eyes. Worley could not explain why she did it, only that she thought it was a joke. The man was not permanently injured.

The far more serious case of abuse involved a 39-year-old male resident of Park East. He had been admitted for close supervision following a tracheostomy after suffering severe respiratory ailments. This medical procedure required that a breathing tube be inserted into his windpipe. The overseeing physician gave written direction that the tube must be cleaned or suctioned every four hours and cleanings must be documented on the patient’s chart.

Somehow the physician’s directions were not followed and the patient died as the result of an improperly installed and maintained apparatus. According to a state report, there was no supporting documentation on the chart. An internal investigation by Park East’s management claimed that the registered nurse responsible for the patient at the time of death believed that suctioning was not necessary. This opposed the doctor’s orders. The nurse was suspended pending further investigation.

A spokesperson for Park East declined to comment on the two abuse cases citing privacy laws. The report claims that Ohio nursing homes are among the lowest rated care facilities in the nation in regard to quality of care. Dozens of patients have died in Ohio nursing homes from lack of proper care in the past few years. Read more about these two Park East abuse cases.

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