COOS BAY — A sign reading “Corporate owners failed residents” stood outside of Baycrest Memory Care on Wednesday.
“I’m here to represent the residents of this facility and others with dementia because they do not have a voice,” said longtime dementia advocate Thomas Blastic.
Baycrest Memory Care is shutting down in March, according to a press release sent out last week. The closure comes just as the Department of Human Services notified the facility of its intent to revoke their license.
“To have this place shut down, that has never been the intention of my advocacy but rather for the improvement of the quality of care,” Blastic said. “We need this type of care because clearly there is a need. The corporate owners choosing not to improve quality of care is abandoning the community.”
Blastic’s advocacy has taken him as far as the state legislature where he provided testimony following his mother-in-law’s experiences at Baycrest Memory Care.
Since then, it wasn’t until after The World reported the facility’s closure last week that Blastic felt the need to stand up again.
Blastic said once he read the article, he was both infuriated and taken aback by comments made by Baycrest Memory Care owners through a public relations firm. The comment that hurt Blastic the most was when the PR firm’s president wrote to The World in an email that the facility “is proud of the high quality care and services that it has always offered to its residents. The residents at all times have enjoyed safe and enriching living conditions.”
“That comment wasn’t true,” Blastic said. “They haven’t, as evidenced by the substantiated abuse cases. It rekindled my fire for advocacy.”
Blastic’s experience with Baycrest Memory Care began when his mother-in-law reached a point where she needed additional assistance that couldn’t be provided at home.
“We were very fortunate to have a room open here,” he said. “What began to transpire was the care issues ranging from medication errors to the lack of cleanliness in terms of when she was incontinent. She was not being cleaned properly, which resulted in urinary tract infections which then resulted in three trips to the emergency room.”
Blastic and his wife started to raise their concerns first to the facility. After no change, they went through the process available for families to contact their local DHS.
“We began documenting situations and as they were documented they were investigated,” he said. “During her stay there were at least six substantiated abuse cases just for her alone.”
During that time period, Blastic discovered 48 other substantiated abuse cases on the Oregon ombudsman website. The site now provides a link to the “Oregonian’s Searchable Database of Substantiated Facility Abuse Complaints,” which leads to complaints as recent as 2016.
“This is not normal for a facility to have these many problems,” Blastic said.
On September 22 of this year, DHS issued a notice with a statement of the facility’s license violation.
“Based on numerous pending Adult Protective Service Investigations, recently completed and substantiated Adult Protective Service Investigations and information received by the department, it has been determined that the facility is not in substantial compliance with the Oregon Administrative Rules for residential care facilities,” the statement read.
“The facility’s noncompliance placed residents at harm and risk for harm,” it continued. “The facility failed to provide affective administration oversight regarding residents’ quality of care and services. . . .”
Baycrest Memory Care’s conduct violated the following licensing rules, including:
- Resident rights and protections
- Medications and treatments
- Staffing requirements and training
- Change of condition and monitoring
“That’s the technical language for not providing care,” Blastic said.
While Blastic sat next to his homemade sign, protesting the mistreatment of the residents in the building nearby, employees driving into the parking lot waved and some took pictures of him through their car windows.
However, more than one approached him.
One employee gave an anonymous interview to The World, stating that the mismanagement at the facility is consistent and “everyone in the community knows it.”
When asked how they felt about the facility closing, they sarcastically said, “Happy holidays to residents and staff. I have no idea what I’ll do.”
“The staff really care,” they added. “Management . . . not so much.”
Wednesday was Blastic’s second day protesting outside of Baycrest Memory Care. On his first day, he had the cops called on him.
“It was weird because I had no negative interactions, I didn’t even talk to anyone,” Blastic said. “I just quietly sat here. I showed the officer my sign, where and how I was parked. They were sympathetic and understanding and said I have a first amendment right, I am on a public street and not causing a disturbance.”
Blastic’s biggest hope from his quiet protest is for more community members to get involved, especially local health care professionals.
“I haven’t seen any of that yet and it saddens me,” he said.