State social workers are investigating a north Spokane woman after an elderly woman in her care was found so filthy that hospital workers had trouble cleaning her.
The patient reportedly had deep bedsores, a urinary tract infection, and crud under her arms and breasts that “couldn’t be scraped off in one cleaning,” authorities said.
“What I think we have here is a situation of serious neglect,” said Ben Blake, manager for the state Adult Family Home program run by the state Department of Social and Health Services.
The case was referred to Spokane police to see if criminal charges are warranted, said Blake, who wouldn’t identify the caretaker.
The victim is staying at Lilac City Care Center since her Oct. 13 release from Holy Family Hospital, said nursing home administrator Steve Anderson.
She lived at the home that’s being investigated for about six weeks before being taken to Holy Family Hospital’s emergency room, where workers reported her condition to DSHS, Anderson said. She was the only patient at the home.
“It didn’t just happen overnight,” he said, referring to bedsores on the woman’s heel and groin. “Our nurses were having trouble just looking at the gross nature of these wounds. It’s disturbing.”
Such wounds likely would mean the woman wasn’t helped out of bed or turned properly, Anderson said.
The woman being investigated isn’t licensed to run an adult family home, Blake said. A license isn’t required when caring for just one resident.
Family members have been coming every day to visit the woman, whose health is improving, Anderson said.
The case illustrates the importance of keeping close watch over people in adult family homes, said Linda Meil, regional ombudsman for the state long-term care program.
“There are some very good homes and some very bad homes,” said Meil. “People are so vulnerable.”
Meil, who sends volunteers into adult family homes to check on the well-being of residents, said she needs 50 more volunteers to visit the 250 homes in Spokane County.
“If you can have people visiting with those residents,” she said, “it safeguards them from any kind of abuse and neglect.”