DANVERS — Residents of The Brentwood Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center reported several instances of verbal and physical abuse last year, including choking and being dragged into a room and left alone, according to state inspection reports.
Inspectors said the nursing home failed to protect residents and did not always report and investigate the incidents as required. The state ordered Brentwood to file a plan to correct the problems.
The reports, which are published on the federal Nursing Home Compare website, are the latest critical assessments of Brentwood, a for-profit nursing home on Liberty Street in Danvers.
Brentwood is ranked among the bottom 10 percent of nursing homes in Massachusetts and has a one-star overall rating, the lowest possible, on Nursing Home Compare. It was fined twice by the federal government for violations in 2018, for a total of $15,216.
The reports were based on three inspections by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in July, August and December 2018. Inspectors cited a number of allegations from residents about poor treatment from staff, as well as several deficiencies in care.
Robin Reale, a Salem resident whose late mother suffered extensive bruising while living at Brentwood in 2018, described the nursing home as a "horror show." The state report said Brentwood failed to report or investigate the cause of multiple bruises on her mother's chest and upper arm and were unable to explain how and when they occurred.
Reale said her family moved her mother to another nursing home after discovering the bruises.
"If this is going to happen to a family who was there every single day to visit, what's going to happen to people who have nobody?," Reale said. "Who's going to help these people who can't speak for themselves?"
'Working to improve'
In a statement, Brentwood administrator Carly Veiga said the nursing home takes its low ranking seriously and expects improvement. She said Brentwood has implemented a quality improvement plan and has hired a new director of quality assurance and a performance improvement specialist.
Veiga said an inspection performed last week, which is not yet public, will show "a facility moving in the right direction."
"Improvement is a continuous activity, and we work at it daily," she said.
One of the most serious alleged incidents occurred on March 19, 2018, when a resident reported that a nursing assistant tried to choke him or her (the reports do not specify gender) after the resident took several packages of cookies off a cart.
The resident reported the incident to a nurse, but the nurse did not report it to his supervisors because he did not believe the resident, according to the report.
In another case, on July 24, 2018, video camera footage revealed that a nurse assistant "dragged" a resident into a room, closed the door, and left the resident alone. The director of nursing said the incident was reported to police.
In November, a resident told staff that a nurse aide grabbed his or her hand and "almost broke it."
Other alleged incidents in the reports include staff members refusing to take a resident to the bathroom, resulting in incontinence; telling a resident to "get the 'F' out of my way while I make my tea;" and yelling at a resident to "shut up."
An inspector also saw a resident in a wheelchair with an open thigh wound "dripping blood," with no dressing covering the wound. The resident was "moaning" because of the pain, the report said.
Brentwood is owned by Tryko Partners, a private equity real estate company based in New Jersey that bought the nursing home in 2013. The facility was cited for low staffing levels in 2015 and was fined $33,031 by the federal government in 2016.
Veiga, Brentwood's administrator, pointed out that Brentwood now has three-star ratings in both staffing and quality from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which runs the Nursing Home Compare website.
"The Brentwood is committed to providing high-quality care and takes our mission and commitment to our residents and their families very seriously," Veiga said in the statement.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.