State halts admissions at Spokane care center; Death of resident

State halts admissions at Spokane care center; Death of resident

Benjamin Shors Staff writer

State regulators halted admissions at a Spokane nursing home after a resident died when her head became trapped in a bed’s railing last month.

The resident, who had suffered a stroke and had a terminal illness, died Feb. 28. Staff found the woman slumped on the floor with her head caught between the bed frame and the side rail.

The state’s Department of Social and Health Services ordered a stop-placement at Royal Park Care Center, 7411 N. Nevada, on March 4. The 164-bed center cares for Medicaid, Medicare and private-pay residents, according to DSHS.

Under the stop-placement order, the facility will not be allowed to accept new patients or transfers until state investigators are satisfied that safety regulations are being properly followed. The facility has 20 days to appeal the order.

“They will need to show us that the residents are protected,” said Shirlee Steiner, regional administrator for DSHS’ Residential Care Services, which inspects and regulates nursing homes. “They have to fix their system.”

A state report found “the facility failed to assess side rail safety for residents based on their cognitive level, physical abilities, and other risk factors.”

Steiner declined to comment on what role the railing may have played in the woman’s death until the investigation is complete.

Royal Park administrator Matt Fleming said the center, which has operated for 14 years, has not determined whether it will appeal the ruling.

“We have done everything to protect our residents here, and we are working with the state to ensure their safety,” Fleming said.

According to the state report, 15 other residents were also placed at risk because of improper use of the side rails. DSHS said the home had previously been found in violation of safety requirements.

“There is always a risk inherent in side-rail use,” Steiner said, citing concerns that residents can become pinned in the railing.

Steiner said the state’s investigation is continuing and could result in fines. State law allows the agency to assess civil fines of up to $3,000 for each violation.

Benjamin Shors can be reached at (509) 459-5484 or

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