Who oversees the healthcare at the intermediate care facility for those with intellectual disabilities (ICF/ID)? If you have a loved one who lives in an ICF/ID it may be worth looking into this to ensure that the healthcare actually does at least meet the minimum standard of care.
This was not the case in the ICF/ID that my son lived in. I first started noticing problems the first year he lived there and I tried to work with the team and work within the system to improve the care, provide education and collaboration. As system after system broke down and my son’s health grew worse I was making more and more trips to his home to provide the care and treatments that were supposed to have been provided by the nurses and team at the ICF/ID.
I knew the medications were not being applied but since the nurses were charting as given that was proof that the medications were being applied as prescribed. The fact that my son was not responding indicated that more potent medications were needed in addition to other medical treatments to control his inflammation. These other treatments are not without risk and actually do increase his risk of cancer but we needed to get the inflammation under control and his immune system stabilized.
I was visiting at least 4 times a week and would apply his topical medications when I visited – knowing that he would at least be getting them when I was there. They were actually supposed to be applied twice a day and were charted as being applied twice a day but that is not what was happening.
After we moved our son to supported living and his care staff applied the prescribed medications as ordered his inflammation quickly was controlled. In about one month’s time the inflammation that had been extremely problematic for 3 1/2 years was now in total control. His lab work was essentially normal after 3 1/2 years of having hematological problems. The medications actually did work – they were just not being administered as prescribed.
Now that I have the actual pharmacy and nursing records to review, I have found 9 medications that were falsely documented as being given for 1-3 years. As a nurse I am totally appalled at the lack of quality and integrity that was accepted and not even questioned and do not understand how these dramatic errors can go unnoticed and uncorrected.
Below are charts of 5 of the medications showing the dates of administration, the amounts the pharmacy (at the ICF/ID) dispensed and the amounts that were charted as given. The compliance rates are unbelievable! Who would accept these rates as meeting any type of standard of care? Why is this acceptable at the ICF/ID?
It’s not just nursing that was the problem. There was to be a 90-day medication review or reconciliation. The purpose of this is to check each medication and ensure it is still needed and is indicated and the correct dose is prescribed. Obviously the medication reviews were not done (but were signed off as being done) since 3 of these medications were only needed for a short time (1 month or less) but remained in my son’s active medication profile for up to 3 years dispensed and signed off as administered. Who really knows what was given and what was just charted on as given.
How is one supposed to know if a medication is working or not when there is this type of record keeping?
There are so many problems that can be identified just with these medication errors. This is at a state operated facility and so far the state investigation has stated that the allegations are unfounded based on the fact that the nurses charted the medications as given as ordered.
The state agency that oversees this facility is the Department of Social and Health Services. Unfortunately, complaints to the Medical Quality Assurance, Nursing Quality Assurance, Department of Health, Pharmacy Quality Assurance are unable to provide any guidance since they do not oversee any of the services at the ICF/ID. It is up to DSHS and they do not see any problems.
Residential Care Services has opened up another investigation to review these issues and other allegations healthcare abuse and neglect. My hope is that this time they will be able to see the problems and work on a plan for correction so that the residents do indeed have healthcare that at least meets the minimum community standard of care. Currently that is not happening.