MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities home health care provider is being accused of neglect after a patient died of malnutrition.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, a staff member of Interim Health Care of the Twin Cities allegedly failed to report a change in a patient’s condition or seek medical attention.
According to MDH, the patient was referred to the home health care provider in 2012 when they were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and “failure to thrive.”
The patient had a skilled nurse visit once a week to help with medication management and home safety evaluation.
MDH said notes from the most recent comprehensive assessment in May of 2014 stated that the patient complained of poor appetite.
Vital signs were recorded during the visit, but the patient was not weighed.
According to MDH, a look into the patient’s treatment showed that no weight monitoring had occurred in the two years of home health care, despite a 2013 visit with a physician who expressed concerns of decreased nutritional intake.
When questioned, the nurse, who had treated the patient since 2012, said they checked the nutritional status by looking at the patient and checking for food in the home.
The nurse said they never weighed the patient because the patient did not have a scale.
The patient’s records showed that the patient was admitted into the hospital on July 1, 2014 with multi-system atrophy and profound malnutrition.
The discharge summary said the patient weigh 80 pounds at admission, had a large pressure ulcer and a severe blood infection.
The nurse stated in an interview that a skin check had been completed during the May visit and no open areas had been found.
According to MDH this was the latest skin check performed by the nurse.
The nurse also said they offered for the patient to go to a nursing home at some point in the last two years, but the patient wanted to stay in their own home.
The patient was place in hospice on July 2. The patient later died on July 15.
MDH said the cause of death was listed as aspiration pneumonia and multi-system atrophy.