- Associated Press - Friday, February 6, 2015

BELLEVUE, Idaho (AP) - Food deprivation for two months at a central Idaho care facility for people with dementia led to weight loss averaging 22 pounds among seven residents checked, state officials say.

The investigation last fall by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare found that Safe Haven Home of Bellevue also failed to administer medications and failed to run an infectious-disease control program when it ran out of supplies.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports (https://bit.ly/1zWLw91) in a story on Friday that the facility is one of 13 senior-care facilities run by Pocatello-based Safe Haven Health Care throughout the state. The company didn’t return a call from The Associated Press on Friday.

According to documents obtained by the newspaper, workers at the facility told state officials that the facility administrator at the time stole food. The administrator isn’t named. The report said the administrator blamed mishandling by workers for the food shortage.

Current facility administrator Staci Fowler said the previous administrator was fired on Sept. 15.

The report said that the investigation was carried out between Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 after irregularities surfaced. On Oct. 2, the state told facility managers that the facility’s deficiencies demonstrated “a substantial limitation” on being able to care for residents.

The facility in January received a six-month provisional license, but it is prohibited from accepting new admissions until additional inspections determine the facility is operating up to state standards.

According to the state report, a caregiver told a social worker sent by Safe Haven in early September to investigate complaints that “last week, Monday through Thursday, we had no food in the facility for the residents to eat. He (the administrator) did not shop for 20 days. I made some rice and cream soup for a few of them. Finally, on Thursday night after 9 p.m. (the administrator) brought groceries in . but there was not a lot of food.”

Another caregiver reported that when the administrator was responsible for buying food during July, August and the first part of September, “the food didn’t make it here.” The caregiver reported bringing food from home to feed residents.

The report said that during the time when the facility had the food shortage, one resident lost 29 pounds, or 19 percent of the person’s body weight.

Fowler, the current facility administrator, told the newspaper that the corporation’s regional director has been at the site on a weekly basis to make sure there is adequate food.

Safe Haven Health Care plans to open a 48-bed skilled-nursing and assisted-living facility, called Bell Mountain Village, in northeastern Bellevue. The area is about 18 miles south of the resort area of Ketchum and Sun Valley.

Two Blaine County commissioners, Jacob Greenberg and Larry Schoen, said they believe Bell Mountain Village will provide quality care.

“There’s going to be a first-class facility, and we as a community and family members just need to be diligent in making sure that what was promised is being given,” Greenberg said.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare officials couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday.

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Information from: Idaho Mountain Express, https://www.mtexpress.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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