Nursing assistant pipeline from nearby local high school delivers new staff members at ‘record’ level 

One nursing home has cultivated a new string of certified nursing assistants by partnering with a high school within walking distance. Farmington High School students take CNA training classwork at the school and then spend 100 hours during the semester performing hands-on clinical work. This spring’s conversion rate was especially good at Farmington Presbyterian Manor in Farmington, MO, said Talisha Brooks, assistant director of health services and supervisor of the clinical side of the program.

The facility hired 12 students out of a class of 26 this spring, which stemmed both from lowering the age limit to hire to 17, and having many open slots. The CNA corps is about 45.

“We needed staff; we needed help. So we were able to get that threshold lowered because we had all of these potential CNAs we weren’t able to hire until they were 18,” she told McKnight’s. “Every long-term care community is needing more nurses. The [teens] can go anywhere and that’s why I think we have an edge with these students. They know us, they’ve served their clinical hours here, they know our residents, and they’ve fallen in love with them.”


Provider gets award axed

TENNESSEE — Allenbrooke Nursing and Rehabilitation scored a victory in August when the Tennessee Court of Appeals vacated a $28 million judgment against its owners.

A county circuit court had awarded $30 million in total damages in 2016 against DTD HC LLC and D&N LLC, along with Aurora Cares LLC. The case stemmed from the family of a resident suing in 2010 over allegations of poor care. 

The resident developed pressure ulcers on her right foot, leading to amputation and her death in 2009, the Memphis Daily News reported.

The jury found Allenbrooke and the owners liable for negligence, medical malpractice and other violations. Jurors awarded more than $1.9 in compensatory damages and violations of the state protection act, along with $28 million in punitive damages.

Allenbrooke appealed and the state Court of Appeals said in early August that it reversed the jury decision. It remanded the case for a new hearing related to punitive damages.


Gunman kills family, self

TEXAS — A man shot his father and stepmother before killing himself in the father’s room at the Retama Manor Nursing Center in Robs-town, TX, authorities said.

Soon after the nursing home murders, which took place July 27, police also found the bodies of the shooter’s 41-year-old stepbrother and couple’s teenage grandson at the family home.

Resident Ernest Starry’s 60-year-old son, Richard, is the suspected shooter in the murder-suicide. Ernest Starry, 85, and his wife, Thelma Montalvo, 60, had helped raise 13-year-old Isaiah Starry, according to local reports. Isaiah, who was working on his Eagle Scout badge, often played chess or checkers with residents at the home for two hours every day, the Corpus Christi Caller Times reported.

Police said their investigation was continuing and declined to speculate on a motive as of press time.

Following the shooting, the nursing home was temporarily locked down, and family and friends of residents were asked to wait at a nearby junior high school.


Death controversy at SNF

IOWA — Dehydration led to the death of a Timely Mission nursing home resident and a $77,000 fine from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to local reports.

The state said Virginia Olthoff, 87, may have gone several days without water before her death in February. It originally proposed a fine near $30,000 based on a June inspection.

But Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) asked for information on the death in July, and CMS told the Buffalo Center home in August of its fine, the Des Moines Register reported.


State loses another SNF

MAINE — Mountain Heights Care Facility in Patten nursing home was planning to close September 1, making it the seventh facility in the state to close recently, News Center Maine reported.

Mountain Heights’ 22 residents will need new homes, the owner said, adding that reimbursement rates from the state’s Medicaid program, haven’t increased enough to keep up with costs. More than 50 employees were also expected to be looking for new jobs.

Threats lead to lockdown

VERMONT — A 66-year-old man faces possible charges of after allegedly making threats at a St. Johnsbury facility. Gary Hillyard of West Glover was at St. Johnsbury Health and Rehabilitation when he made verbal threats to a staff member that he was going to shoot people, police said. The nursing home and nearby hospital were put on lockdown.