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At Bryden Place Nursing Home, A Missed Disaster And Troubling Record

At Bryden Place Nursing Home on Columbus's East Side, a carbon monoxide leak hospitalized 10 residents in December.

On Monday, December 12, a man who identifies himself as a nursing home resident, places a call to 911.

"9-1-1, where's your emergency?" the dispatcher asks. "Bryden Place Nursing Home," the man says.

Problems and emergencies are not new to Bryden Place, a for-profit nursing home on Columbus's East Side. A WOSU investigation found that in just the past two years, the facility has accumulated a long list of violations - and a reputation for being a recurring problem.

Disaster Avoided

The man tells the dispatcher he's feeling ill and wants to see a doctor. Then he passes to phone to the attending nurse, who tells the dispatcher that this patient is crying wolf.

"There's nothing wrong," the nurse says. "It's just a behavior thing, this happens all the time."

The dispatcher ignores the nurse and sends medics to the scene anyway. On arrival, first responders find carbon monoxide at 10 times what is considered the safe exposure level.

Ten residents were hospitalized, nobody died, and the facility of some 150 residents avoided what could have been a major disaster.

Constant Complaints

It was not the first time, however, that outside officials had to intervene at Bryden Place. Complaints compiled by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services show a nursing home at the bottom of the rung.

In 2015, health inspectors discovered an infestation of roaches, and residents complained of bed bugs and gnats.

Reports from this year reveal several instances where medications were not provided to patients, either because the prescriptions were never refilled or the meds were not distributed.

Other reported instances include a patient who was left on a bed without any sheets; a man who was not being treated for his incontinence; and a patient without teeth who was not provided a dental appointment to get a set of dentures.

In April, a staff member at Bryden Place used a broom to repeatedly strike a resident to the floor who had behavioral problems. The staff member was terminated, but Bryden Place faced losing their certification for federal healthcare funding and being shut down.

One Star

Beverley Laubert works for the Ohio Department of Aging as an advocate for residents in assisted living and nursing homes. Her office has filed 22 complaints against Bryden Place in the last year - about two per month.

She says Byrden Place is a reoccurring problem.  

"So you just have to put yourself in the place of those residents," Laubert says, "and try to understand that that is their day-to-day life, and is that something we would expect for ourselves?"

Credit Esther Honig
Beverley Laubert works for the state of Ohio as the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

According to the government site Nursing Home Compare, Bryden Place received just one out of five stars - the lowest score possible. Laubert says facilities like Bryden Place are costly and receive federal tax dollars, so they could be doing more to serve their residents. 

"I personally would be concerned about a one star facility," Laubert says. "It concerns me that any facility would be a one-star facility."

The for-profit corporation Embassy Healthcare has run Bryden Place since 2013.  Based in suburban Cleveland, Embassy runs 22 nursing homes in Ohio. Over half received just one or two stars on the federal rating system.

Officials from Bryden Place and Embassy Heathcare have been unavailable for comment.

Beverly Laubert says the Health Department is conducting a survey about this most recent incident at Bryden Place. Fire officials report that the nursing home has recently installed carbon monoxide detectors.

Editor's Note: When this piece originally aired, an incorrect date was given for the carbon monoxide incident. It was December 12, not November. This has been corrected in the above text and audio.