PLAQUEMINE, LA (WAFB) - There have been some big changes at a nursing home in Plaquemine, where the 9News Investigators uncovered reports of unsanitary living conditions, missing records, and policy violations.
Plaquemine Manor, a private nursing home, became the focus of a 9News investigation in November of 2017 when residents and their relatives spoke out about alleged abuse and neglect at the facility. They were so worried about what might happen if they appeared on TV, they asked 9News to hide their identities. But several months later, that has changed.
Gina Sanchez, whose mother has been living there for two and a half years, is not hiding anymore. "We have come full circle," she said.
Sanchez told 9News back in November that nurses were not giving her mother her medications on time, her mother's diapers were soiled when she visited, and that her mother was always hungry. Sanchez says things got so bad, she made three trips per day to the home to care for her.
"I felt like I was doing some of the job," Sanchez said.
She even created a to-do list for the nurses when she could not be there. She says administrators at Plaquemine Manor ignored their complaints and were even rude at times. "Before, we would walk in with our armor on because we didn't know what we were going to get hit with," Sanchez said.
At the time of our report last year, documents the 9News Investigators obtained from the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), the agency that oversees nursing homes, revealed pages of violations during past inspections. State investigators noted they found evidence of abuse, nurses using expletives when speaking to residents, unsanitary conditions, and missing records. The chief of staff at LDH told us Plaquemine Manor has had several administrators in the last three years. Sanchez says after our report aired the owner, Bob Dean, took action.
"You see supervisors all the time. They will stop and ask you how things are going. They will pop in the room and ask if anything is okay, if there are any issues. I've just seen a tremendous change," Sanchez said.
Sanchez has written a letter to residents and their loved ones, sharing her renewed experience at the facility. She lists improvements such as an open-door policy, increased weekend staff, and new nursing supervisors. But Sanchez says the biggest change came from the top. The former administrator, Tracy Garcia, was replaced. Sanchez says the manor's new leader, Amy Nelson, has made the extra effort to supervise the staff and follow up on residents' concerns.
"I still go every day, but now it's more to see my mother. It is more of a visit with my mother. It's not so much so that I am worried about what's happening with her or to her," Sanchez said. "I don't know how long momma will be with us, but I feel like I will have peace until she leaves."
Sanchez says the owner has also started what is known as "care meetings," where residents and their families can discuss their concerns openly with administrators.