Pioneers' Home ordered to develop improved treatment plan

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Pioneers' Home has been ordered to develop a plan to improve care at the home or face a ban on new admissions.

A state licensing official earlier this week issued a report detailing problems at the home involving one elderly resident whose care was documented on a video camera installed by his daughter.

The report also briefly mentioned broader issues and policies affecting residents, including management and staffing levels. The report referred to an October meeting with the home's administrator where the matters were discussed in detail.

If a plan isn't in place in 90 days, the Anchorage home could be barred from accepting residents into its Alzheimer's or comprehensive care units, according to the report written by Gary Ward, supervisor of assisted-living licensing for the state.

The home already has addressed care issues and is prepared to make whatever additional changes are needed, said Jim Duncan, commissioner of the state Department of Administration. His department operates the six state-run Pioneers Homes and includes the licensing program.

Duncan said the licensing report did not spell out what the home must now do. He said he spoke to Ward late Thursday afternoon about the report.

''We want to be sure we are doing the job right,'' Duncan said. ''He needs to give us a list of other changes he believes are necessary, and we will respond to those changes.''

Duncan said the concerns listed by Ward do not involve the safety of residents, and overall care at the home is excellent. Most of the issues are old and already have been dealt with, he said.

Before a moratorium could be imposed, the licensing office would have to issue a notice of violation and give the home time to respond, Duncan said.

Both the licensing report and a Jan. 15 letter from the outgoing long-term-care ombudsman focus on the home's care of an 87-year-old resident with advanced Alzheimer's disease.

The man, who in college was a star soccer player, now cannot walk, talk, stand or even sit up. His daughter has had numerous complaints about his care over the years and has installed a video camera in his room that is visible to staffers.

The Anchorage home last year was written up for leaving him strapped to a portable commode for an hour in an incident caught on tape.

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