Future of Lawrence Place uncertain
The state department of public health has recommended that Lawrence Place, an assisted living facility in Russellville, be closed.
The Alabama Department of Public Health issued a rating of 38 to the facility following a November inspection. The score was out of a possible 100 and cites a wide variety of problems.
The 83-page report indicates that there were major problems within the facility and management there.
"There were a lot of service deficient practices that convinced us that the place is not very well managed," said Rick Harris, director of bureau of health provider standards for the department of public health.
Following the survey of the facility, which is located on E. Lawrence St., the state recommended that Lawrence Place's license be revoked. A hearing has been set for Feb. 6-7 in Montgomery, according to Harris.
The report identifies numerous violations, many of which have been called into question by Lawrence Place administrators and residents.
Administrator Renee Bragwell said the report was biased and was directed by those with personal vendettas against certain people at Lawrence Place.
"We were treated unfairly and it was not a substantiated survey," Bragwell said.
The report cites numerous state violations that include verbal abuse toward residents, improperly dispensing medication and weight loss in residents there.
Thomas Evans, who has lived at Lawrence Place for more than seven years, said that he is the person whose weight loss was questioned.
"The report said I lost 45 pounds in a month," Evans said. "I did lose that weight but it was over about a 10 month period because I had a gall bladder problem and couldn't eat solid food."
Evans said that if he had been asked about the weight loss he could have told inspectors why.
"They never talked to me," he said. "They never asked me anything about it."
Bragwell said the instance in which someone was verbally abused was just a misunderstanding.
"We had a resident who didn't want to eat," Bragwell said. "An employee, just joking, told them that if they didn't eat we would put them outside. She said that in front of the surveyor and in front of the resident's family member.
"She was just joking. She probably shouldn't have said that but this is like a family here and she was just trying to get the resident to eat."
Some of the complaints outlined in the state's report are concerning the lack of paper work and records kept by the staff, while other points are focused toward patient care.
"The health department is saying that it's not a safe environment," Harris said.
Owner Roger Jacobson said that if the state was so concerned about the residents' safety, he couldn't understand why the facility was only notified about the report last Friday, more than two months after the inspection.
Hoyt Dillard, of Russellville, said Tuesday that he was shocked to hear about the findings. Dillard's sister lives at Lawrence Place and he said that he has never witnessed a problem there.
"If I saw the things that were written but there was no name listed in it, I would have never said it would be Lawrence Place," Dillard said. "If it was that unsafe they should have done something seven weeks ago."
Harris said there would be a period of time following the hearing on Feb. 6-7 before a ruling is reached and a final outcome is determined.