A survey team from our assisted living office went into an Assisted Living Center in Mesa in response to multiple complaints and concerns from family, residents and from the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) providers last December. As a result of the four day inspection, the facility was put on a provisional license pending correction of deficiencies, including many health and safety violations. The facility houses many residents who are at the supervisory level of care and able to direct their own self-care. There are also residents who have ambulation issues such as using wheelchairs, walkers, other mobility aids or are bedbound.
The most important health and safety violations were problems with fire safety, including smoke detectors being disabled and residents smoking in their rooms. The facility was also deficient in conducting fire drills for residents and employees. Our team of surveyors monitored and encouraged the facility’s efforts to comply with facility rules and provided technical assistance to staff. Over the past 6 months the Department has worked with this facility and the new manager to correct the deficiencies; in particular, to ensure that fire drills were conducted and the smoke detectors and alarms were frequently monitored.
Last week those efforts paid off when a resident (on oxygen) lit a cigarette and set his bed on fire (against facility regulations. He had been under notice to relocate because he continued to smoke in his room. The smoke detector and the fire alarm went off, the sprinklers engaged and the fire department was called. The manager and the staff reported to the room and emptied four fire extinguishers, knocking down the flames before the fire department arrived. The resident, who was able to reach the ground floor in his wheelchair, was taken to a hospital for treatment. Because of the recent fire drills, the staff and residents of the facility knew what to do, and did it. As a result there have been no permanent injuries to the remaining residents.
We want to thank all of our surveyors who have assisted this facility for the past few months, and those who made visits over the weekend: Christy Neal, Pat Greenquist, Margaret Wheeler, Doris Laidlaw, Rosey Diaz, Sherry Daniely, Nicole Morong, Reina Manso, Lori Schrock, and Amber Harris, to regain compliance and to avoid what could have been a major tragedy, and to protect the residents’ health and safety.