COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — Fearing for her mother’s health and safety, Hazel Drumgoole says she has pulled her mother out of Colonial Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and filed complaints at both the state and federal level.
WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, has found that the facility has a history of problems.
Marie Drumgoole was transported to the Colonial Heights health care center to rehab after a stroke. Her stay lasted just three weeks after her daughter noticed bruising on her mom.
“A large bruise on the left side of her stomach and a large bruise on her thigh,” Hazel said.
Hazel claims the nursing center couldn’t explain what happened to her mother. She has her own ideas.
“I’ve taken care of my mother for years, I never bruised her,” said Hazel. “I am thinking unnecessary roughness.”
She shared photos with WFXR’s sister station to prove it.
Hazel’s 94-year-old mother arrived at the Colonial Heights nursing center with a heart monitor, but Hazel says it was never connected.
“She was here two weeks and they did not know she had a heart monitor,” Hazel said. “It’s neglect, I think it’s neglect.”
According to Hazel, her mother couldn’t even talk to her family over the phone for her first 10 days at the center.
“The receiver was missing from the phone,” explained Hazel.
Hazel wasn’t permitted to visit Marie in-person at first because of COVID-19 restrictions, but she demanded a compassion visit. Hazel says when she got inside, it was clear to her no one had washed or combed her mom’s hair.
“Her hair was all tangled in the back,” Hazel said.
In addition, a packed suitcase with personal belongings was empty.
“All her clothes and her shoes were missing,” said Hazel.
Eventually, a pair of her pants were found in the laundry room and an outfit and shoes were found in the roommate’s closet. However, Hazel says the majority of her mom’s belongings are still unaccounted for.
It’s not the first time the facility had been accused of losing personal items. Sister station WRIC found an investigation into a complaint last year determined facility staff failed to investigate a concern for missing hearing aids.
“It was total neglect here,” Hazel said.
WRIC requested an interview with management at the Colonial Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. They declined but we receive the following statement:
“We are very sorry to hear of the issues alleged by the family of our former resident. The quality care and wellbeing of our residents is always of utmost importance to everyone at Colonial Heights Rehabilitation Center. We are fully committed to our residents and hold ourselves to the highest of standards always. We are unable to comment further, due to HIPPA and privacy practices for the former resident and family.”Tyler Mackall Administrator, Colonial Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
WFXR’s sister station found the nursing facility gets a much lower than average rating from the federal government and at the height of the pandemic, the center had a COVID-19 outbreak resulting in 24 deaths.
Hazel urges others with loved ones in a nursing facility to check in on them and request a compassion visit to see what is going on inside.
“A lot of patients here, they are non-verbal they can’t express, they can’t talk, they can’t tell their story,” Hazel said. “Family needs to visit them.”
Medical experts says sometimes medical details like a heart monitor can get lost in transit if not noted by a doctor. So, it’s important to ask questions and make sure the doctor and facility have communicated.
If you are having an issue with a facility and want to file a complaint, you can do so fill out a Nursing Home Complaint Form and send it to the Virginia Department of Health.
For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list
Get breaking news, weather, and sports delivered to your smartphone with the WFXR News app available on Apple and Android.