Cited for abuse, medication errors: Knowing your nursing home

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Coming to a nursing home wasn’t easy for Ken Kositzky. Perhaps admitting it was time was even harder for the 73-year-old who’s used to his independence.

“When you go to the hospital, to a facility, you lose all your modesty,” Kositsky said.

Target 8 asked Kositzky if going to a nursing home was a scary experience.

“It was,” he said. “For me it was, at first.”

It was almost just as scary for his wife, Ginger Kositzky, who was tasked with finding a nursing home she could trust to take care of her husband of 52 years.

“I mean, the first few times I cried my eyes out leaving him,” she said.

Moving into a nursing home is an unknown experience for those used to living their adult lives independently. And Target 8 discovered chilling problems at dozens of nursing homes across West Michigan.

On the heels of State Attorney General Bill Schuette announcing a new initiative to protect Michigan’s senior citizens from abuse and neglect in nursing homes, Target 8 examined some of the nursing homes in West Michigan that received some of the poorest ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Target 8 sifted through hundreds of pages of state inspection reports, and discovered the state cited one facility for failing to prevent a serious medication error after inaccurate insulin dosing.

It cited another home for verbal abuse after staff reported that a nurse told a resident to, quote, “Shut up and go to your room.”

In another home, a resident asked for a bedpan but inspectors said the aide went to lunch and the resident sat in her own feces for more than an hour. In that same home, another inspection report showed staff failed to relay allergy information to the food service department, and a resident died after she was served food to which she was allergic.

Amerriel Cegers spoke with 24 Hour News 8 in 2011 after she trusted Borgess Gardens in Kalamazoo with the care of her mother, Alicia Cegers.

Alicia Cegers’ tracheostomy dislodged when an aide was moving her, and staff members failed to get the breathing tube back in. She died at the hospital.

The incident landed Borgess Gardens on a federal watch list called the Special Focus Facilities List. That move left the nursing home at risk for losing federal money, but it has since graduated off the list after making improvements.

“Why did she die like that, why?” Amerriel Cegers said. “I mean, every other weekend, it seemed like every other weekend she was in the hospital. Was it because they were short-staffed? I just don’t know.”

Staffing levels and much more, like detailed descriptions of what the state found in random inspections, can be found online. CMS’s Nursing Home Compare site shows how every Medicare and Medicaid-certified home is rated in health inspections, staffing and overall quality.

When it was time for Ken Kositzky to move to a nursing home, he and his wife chose top-rated nursing home Breton Rehabilitation & Living Centre in Grand Rapids.

“Whether he can come home or not, I don’t know,” she said. “I would hope that he could. But if not, I’m happy he’s got a place like [Breton Rehabilitation & Living Centre].”

But not every home is top-rated. Target 8 discovered out of the 29 Grand Rapids nursing homes listed on, 16 are rated average or worse on state health inspections.

In Kalamazoo, the ratings aren’t any better. Ten out of 15 homes listed scored average or worse on health inspections.



On the web:

Nursing Home Compare

AG Schuette’s educational brochure “Protecting Residents from Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Care Facilities”

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