‘Clean this place up:’ Senior living facility ‘making progress’ after former employee raises bed bugs concerns

A senior living facility in Henrico says it is addressing a serious bed bug
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 3:18 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2023 at 10:36 AM EST
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - After a former employee of a senior living facility reached out to 12 On Your Side with concerns, Blue Ridge Senior Living says it is addressing issues and working to maintain the “highest level of hygiene.”

Tammy Owen Ogunmokun spent 30 years working in healthcare and says she has “never seen a facility” like Blue Ridge Senior Living on Gayton Road in Henrico.

Owen Ogunmokun has worked as a certified nursing assistant and personal care aide. She says she worked at Blue Ridge Senior Living twice in her career, most recently from February to April 2022.

“I got bit by bed bugs. I have pictures in my phone,” she said. “Roaches (were) crawling down the wall, crawling on them, bed bugs are in between the mattress. The residents have bed sores on them that only an RN can take care of them for that.”

Tammy Owen Ogunmokun says she suffered from bed bug bites while working at Blue Ridge Senior...
Tammy Owen Ogunmokun says she suffered from bed bug bites while working at Blue Ridge Senior Living.(NBC 12)

She started carrying a clear bag to work every day to see any bugs that may have crawled into her belongings.

Tammy Owen Ogunmokun called 12 On Your Side concerned about living conditions at Blue Ridge...
Tammy Owen Ogunmokun called 12 On Your Side concerned about living conditions at Blue Ridge Senior Living on Gayton Road.(NBC 12)

Owen Ogunmokun says she started voicing concerns to administrators and eventually quit.

“I said, ‘before I leave, would y’all please clean this place up.’ My biggest concern is for the residents - the employees go home, but they have to stay there, and my heart goes out to them - they are elderly people,” she explained. “I want the family members to know either they clean that place up, or you get your loved one out there.”

After leaving Blue Ridge, Owen Ogunmokun says she filed a complaint with the Department of Social Services.

“I stayed on the phone with them (for) almost an hour,” she explained.

On its website, Blue Ridge Senior Living says its goal is to “provide quality healthcare and services in an environment that promotes dignity, respect and independence for your loved one; that’s the essence of Blue Ridge Senior Living of Richmond.”

The facility also offers the following:

  • Forty-seven state-of-the-art security cameras
  • Over 100 apartments with complete renovations
  • 25,000-square-foot memory care unit

The On Your Side Investigators first contacted the Department of Social Services in May 2022. In November 2022, the agency wrote the following:

The Division of Licensing Programs initiated an investigation on April 19, 2022, related to concerns received. The investigation has been completed, and the findings of the inspections are contained in the on-line summaries dated May 27, 2022. Please visit the Division of Licensing Program’s website to review the referenced documents.

There were several violations found in April 2022, including:

Based on the review of facility records and interviews conducted with the facility Administrator, the facility failed to ensure that care is furnished in a way that fosters the independence of each resident and enables him to fulfill his potential.

Evidence: Resident #1-Documented date of admission-02/15/2022. On 02/19/2022 at 2:20a.m; three days after admission, the resident exited the building through a first-floor side door. During interviews, the facility Administrator said the door was not alarmed.

At the time of the incident, Resident #1 lived on the first floor. The local police was not contacted until approximately 6 hours after the resident left the facility.

Based on the review of facility records, facility staff #s 6 and 7 were the only two facility staff assigned to the first floor of the facility.

Upon request, the facility did not submit documentation that a facility record had been created for the two staff members that were responsible for the supervision of resident #1.

During interviews, the facility Administrator stated that since this incident, resident #1 has been placed in the facility’s safe and secure unit.

However, upon request during the review of facility records and interviews conducted on 04/19, 28/2022, the facility Administrator did not submit for the inspector’s review documented evidence that prior to 02/19/2022, resident #1 exhibited behaviors since admission that required an assessment by an independent clinical psychologist or that noted that resident #1 had been diagnosed as having a serious cognitive impairment due to a primary psychiatric diagnosis of dementia with an inability to recognize danger or protect his own safety and welfare.

Plan of Correction: FACILITY RESPONSE- “Employees will be in serviced on missing person and resident emergencies. Business Office Manager to do a complete audit of employee files, and any missing documentation will be completed. A resident has a diagnosis of dementia, resident MD completed required paperwork for the secure unit.”

In August 2022, a license renewal inspection was conducted, with the following violations found:

Based on observation, the Administrator failed to ensure that the interior of all buildings is maintained in good repair and kept clean and free of rubbish.

Evidence: As evidenced by the photographs taken and accompanied by the facility Administrator and Director of Nursing on 08/24, 8/30/2022, the following was observed in multiple resident rooms throughout the facility:

-Dark stains on ceiling tile.

-Multiple resident rooms and closets were observed to be cluttered with clothing and other items.

-A used bowl with stains of food was left unattended in a resident’s room.

-A bag of residents’ clothing was observed on the floor behind a chair.

-Bedroom walls were stained

-A residents mattress and box spring covers were stained in some areas with what the Administrator described as remnants from the bedbug treatments.

-A resident’s bedroom was observed to have a used bottle of Gatorade, an open container of Ensure, and a plastic water bottle that had a small amount of dark liquid was left unattended on the resident’s side table.

-An unfolded and stained white blanket and a plunger was observed in a resident’s bathroom on the floor under the toilet.

Plan of Correction: Checklist is created to audit resident rooms on a regular basis and ensure they are maintained in good repair and kept free of rubbish.

Based on observation, the facility failed to ensure that all buildings are free from foul, stale and musty odors.

Evidence: During the walk-through of the physical plant accompanied by the DON, a foul odor was noticed in multiple resident rooms on the third floor.

Plan of Correction: FACILITY’S RESPONSE: “In service all housekeepers on cleaning and mopping best Practices to remove foul, stale and musty odors. Through Manager spot checks of rooms, they are to ensure rooms are Free of foul, stale and musty odors.”

“I am going to get there one day, someone may need to take care of me. I hope somebody will do the same thing for me that I am doing for these people. I hope somebody will speak up,” said Owen Ogunmokun.

In a statement to NBC12, Blue Ridge Senior Living’s executive director said the facility is now under new ownership, and bed bugs have been addressed.

“As the new owners of Blue Ridge Senior Living, we are aware that the facility has had issues related to its safety and hygiene and, in particular, the presence of bed bugs. Our review of the situation has determined that actions taken by the Richmond leadership team over the past several months have mitigated the bed bug issue, largely through a series of thermal treatments conducted by an outside vendor. We will continue to monitor the situation in keeping with our commitment to ensure that the facility maintains the highest standards of cleanliness and safety consistent with all our senior care centers across the country.

We are in the process of communicating with our residents and, where appropriate, their family members to keep them informed of our progress in maintaining the highest levels of hygiene for the comfort and care of our residents.”