Investigative report slams treatment at Falls rehab center

Facility is subject of past I-Team investigations
Posted at 6:17 AM, Jul 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-13 09:20:13-04

A disability rights organization has released a scathing report, slamming patient treatment inside the Niagara Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

In the 14-page report, investigators from Disability Rights New York note, they were contacted in November, 2016.  Complaints included poor care and dismal conditions inside the facility.

The facility has 160 beds.  The group made three visits to the facility and reviewed patient records, interviewed residents and staffers.

Disability Rights New York investigators say the facility was not clean or safely maintained.  They explain at least one patient was physically and verbally abused.  Additionally, investigators say the facility "failed to provide adequate meals and did not meet the nutrition needs of residents."

One resident, according to the report, said her bed sheets hadn't been changed in months.  She said she was living in constant pain because of a lack of medical care.

Investigators say they found many residents had the same bed sheets for several weeks. 

"Residents complained of the urine stench in the halls," the report notes, because of dirty linen bins in the halls.  

Some say they were treated inappropriately by staffers, who are accused of "kicking residents' beds to wake them."  During each visit, investigators say they found staffers did not respond to call bells.  One resident even recorded other residents calling for help, but was forced to erase that recording. 

A former resident said she was "forced to remain in her bed for days because staff was unwilling to transfer her to her wheelchair and were unresponsive to call bell requests..."

"During DRNY's visits to NRNC we were forced to maneuver around residents in wheelchairs who had been left in the middle or to the side of the hallways," the report explains.  It goes on to say those residents were sleeping in wheelchairs.  Some, investigators say, were "staring at the wall or ground without speaking or moving."

Investigators say they found dirty floors and walls. 

The report notes residents were given meals that "do not meet their dietary needs..."  In fact, investigators say some residents weren't fed at all during some mealtimes.  

Disability Rights New York is designated by the agency, given power by the federal or state government to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect of people with disabilities.

They're recommending several corrective actions, including immediate cleaning and inspection of patient rooms.  They want staffers to respond to call bells and hire more staff if there aren't enough people to help.

Policies to address medical care and cocnern must be changed, investigators say.  

The report notes the facility must change nutrition services policies for patients to make sure they're fed properly.

There was no timeline for this corrective action.

We've reached out to the spokesman for Niagara Rehab.  He has not yet returned our request for comment.