Within 36 hours after its executive director posted a video on social media stating Dover Manor’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had fallen to three, three more residents died of the coronavirus. That increased the number of COVID-19 related deaths at the long-term care facility to nine, according to the WEDCO Health District.

The News-Graphic attempted several times to reach someone at Dover Manor via phone and email with no response. WEDCO Health District officials say they, too, have struggled with getting information from Dover Manor officials.

On Sept. 2, Dustyn Sloan, Dover Manor by Harborview executive director, released a video on Facebook.

“As of tomorrow only three residents will be COVID-19 positive in our facility and all are expected to make a full recovery,” Sloan said in answer to news reports of a wide-spread outbreak inside the facility as well as allegations that safety protocols were not being followed. The first of three residents who died from the coronavirus passed away just a few hours following the video’s release.

In mid-August, Pat Wise, another Dover Manor executive, said there were only 13 confirmed cases of the coronavirus inside the facility. Wise also said the facility had 109 employees, a figure disputed by every employee and ex-employee the News-Graphic interviewed. WEDCO attributes 99 total cases of COVID-19 to Dover Manor since the pandemic began, including 66 residents and 33 staff members with nine deaths. As of this week, 37 residents and 20 staff members remain active with the coronavirus, according to WEDCO.

WEDCO’s statistics and those given out by Dover Manor officials have seldom agreed.

Genelea “Jenny” Spicer was a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Dover Manor for seven years, but she quit in June because of a lack of staffing and concern for the residents, she said. Spicer is among almost a dozen employees and ex-employees who have spoken with the News-Graphic about conditions inside Dover Manor.

“I was often working by myself with up to 35 residents,” Spicer said. “You really need at least two CNAs in order to help left and serve the residents. I kept saying I need help, but it didn’t happen. It broke my heart to leave that place, but if we don’t stand up for the residents, who is going to?

“If we don’t fight for the residents, we’re just as guilty as management. The residents don’t deserve this kind of treatment. They really don’t.”

Much of the problems began when Harborview, a Georgia corporation with long-term facilities in several states, took over in October, Spicer said. Almost immediately, there were personnel cutbacks, promises made that were never kept and care for the residents declined, she said.

“Food portions were reduced,” Spicer said. “We weren’t getting supplies, so we would have to run to Walmart for disposable briefs. Sometimes Walmart wouldn’t have the right sizes and we’d have to put a small brief on a large person or a large brief on a small person.

“It was bad.”

While Harborview may have taken over in October, a search of nursing home inspections on www.medicare.gov show Dover Manor’s problems go back to 2017. Dover Manor has had 18 violations and has been fined $6,500 for deficiencies, according to the website. The same database shows Dover Manor has reported only three COVID-19 cases in the facility.

Dover Manor and Signature Healthcare, which has 12 deficiencies and no fines, are the only Georgetown long-term facilities listed with deficiencies on the website.

The database lists Dover Manor’s most serious deficiencies as rated “G,” which is described as follows, “Actual harm occurred but it does not pose an immediate jeopardy to resident health or safety. Deficiency is isolated.”

The deficiencies noted in the reports include minor issues such as a lack of activities for residents to more serious issues such as:

—Presence of skin ulcers or pressure wounds on 19 residents.

—Resident fell while being transferred from recliner to toilet seat. The same resident had a previous “unwitnessed” fall in the bathroom and injured their back.

—Milk was served at an unsafe temperature.

—Kitchen refrigerator was observed with a black substance on its shelves with standing water in the bottom of the refrigerator where cartons of milk were stored.

—Medications were administered late.

—Following an incidence of incontinence, soiled gloves were not removed nor were hands washed by attendant when touching table beside resident’s bedside and opening drawer and touching its contents.

Chelsea Taylor was a current employee at the time of her interview, working in Dover Manor’s kitchen area. She described incidents similar to the deficiencies noted in the inspections, as well as a staff shortage forcing CNAs like Spicer to cover 30 residents or more alone. 

“The families have no idea what is going on,” Taylor said. “The managers tell them one thing, but something else is going on. 

“I’m concerned for the residents.”

 

Mike Scogin can be reached at mscogin@news-graphic.com.

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