LPN arrested for falsifying test records about resident's fall death

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A former licensed practical nurse at a Louisiana veterans nursing home was arrested Monday on charges that she falsified records about a resident's death following a fall.

Cheryl Poirrier, 58, was employed by the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs at the  Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve, LA. Poirrier was the on-duty nurse on January 8, 2015, when a resident fell in his room and was found with his wheelchair on top of him. The resident reported having back and head pain and was returned to his bed. He died later that night.

Under Veterans Affairs policies, nursing home staff are required to document neurological signs of residents who have unobserved falls in what are known as “neuro checks.” The checks must be completed every 15 minutes for the first hour following a fall, every hour for the next four hours, and then once during each shift for the remaining 72 hours after a fall.

A report by the Louisiana Office of Inspector General found that Poirrier filed four reports into the facility's electronic system stating she had conducted neuro checks between 9:35 p.m., shortly after the resident was discovered on the floor, and 2:20 a.m.

In reality, the reports were entered between 7:40 a.m. and 7:48 a.m., after the resident's death had already been discovered, the OIG said. Surveillance footage showed that Poirrier did not conduct the checks, instead taking “numerous smoking breaks” during her shift when the neuro checks were purported to take place.

Poirrier faces four counts of filing false public records and two counts of malfeasance in office.

In a statement to the OIG, Joey Strickland, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, said Poirrier's actions “will not be tolerated,” and that the agency fully supports the OIG's finding.

“I have already taken steps to fix the mistakes of the previous administration, ensuring that they will not happen again and that our veterans will be cared for with the respect, honor, and dignity that they deserve,” Strickland said.