Cayce police and state agents at odds over nursing home security

Twilite (sic) mansion in Cayce.

Twilite (sic) mansion in Cayce.

Conditions at a Cayce adult care facility where a man died Feb. 18 are disputed by police and state oversight agencies.

Statements from the state Department of Human Services and the Department of Health and Environmental Control strongly imply that the Cayce Police Department acted far too aggressively when taking emergency action. to move residents from Twilite Manor, an assisted living facility on Forrest Street, after a 69-year-old man died at the facility on Friday.

And the head of a South Carolina organization that advocates for people with disabilities agrees, saying the Cayce Police Department may have tried to help people, but likely caused them more harm because misconceptions.

Representatives for Twilite Manor did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Police say the facility was an ‘imminent danger’ to residents

Twilite Manner had no medical staff working Friday when residents and a housekeeper found resident Timothy Frank Catalano dead inside, the Cayce Police Department and Lexington County Coroner’s Office said.

It was one “serious concern” among others that prompted the police department to take the residents of Twilite Manor into emergency custody and find them new homes, the department said.

“We knew their well-being was in imminent danger,” the department said. “Our officers were saddened to see their living conditions and took steps to provide them with the medical and other assistance they needed. We will continue to work with (State Departments of Health and Human Services) and each of their families to ensure the proper care and attention is provided to each of them.

Catalano’s cause of death is pending an autopsy scheduled for Monday.

After police were called to the facility around 9:30 a.m. Friday for Catalano, who would soon be pronounced dead, investigators discovered residents had not been fed or given medication since the previous night, the department said in a statement.

Another elderly man required immediate hospitalization for an unspecified medical condition, the department said.

No professionals were present at the facility to provide the help residents needed, the department said. Some of the residents are blind, suffer from mental illness and some are “completely unable to care for themselves in even the most basic way”, according to the department.

Others who lived at Twilite Manor were transferred to relatives or other facilities based on their care needs, the department said.

Investigators and state agents involved said between 12 and 14 people were displaced from their homes.

In January, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office accused a Twilite Manor employee financial fraud and exploitation of a vulnerable adult. The office alleged that the employee stole a resident’s debit card and used it to make purchases.

Also last month, the Federal Department of Justice opened an investigation in South Carolinathe use of community residential care facilities for people with mental health needs.

State agents contradict police findings

A statement released Saturday by the Department of Social Services portrays the Cayce Police Department as going too far in its actions at Twilite Manner.

While speaking with DSS agents, some of the residents “expressed their desire to return home to Twilite Manor immediately,” agency spokeswoman Connelly-Anne Ragley wrote in the statement provided to the State.

“Many residents have been removed from (Twilite Manor) without the necessary medications that DSS professionals have worked to obtain,” she said.

The Cayce Police Department disputed that claim Saturday night, saying its command staff personally retrieved drugs with DSS employees from Twilite Manor and reviewed instructions for administering them.

“Resident care is very important,” said Cayce Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Hunter.

Some Twilite Manor residents are still in a local hospital emergency room “with no current medical needs” waiting for a new place to stay or to be able to return to Twilite Manor, the DSS said.

Ragley pointed out that the DSS does not have the authority to remove people from their homes or facilities without the police taking emergency action. The police must prove that they are able to take people into emergency custody before social services officers can find them at home.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control, which regulates care facilities, also disputed Cayce’s police statements.

DHEC said it “did not observe any conditions or practices that pose an immediate threat to the health, safety and well-being of residents” after a tour of the facility.

The DHEC said it would issue its findings next week.

In 2017 and 2018, DHEC inspected three complaints and conducted regular inspections at Twilite Manor.

The agency cited Twilite Manor at the time for “staff training, employment of an administrator, staff and resident assessments, incident reports, resident records and individual care plans. , residents’ money, TB screening, medication administration and oxygen cylinder safety,” according to the documents.

The agency fined Twilite Manor nearly $20,000 for the violations.

“Misconceptions” may have caused the problems

While the Cayce Police Department may have been trying to help the residents of Twilite Manor, the department did them more harm, said Kimberly Tissot, president of Able South Carolina, an organization that advocates for people with disabilities.

Residents of Twilite Manor were independent adults who needed help with daily tasks, Tissot said. Residents can come and go as they please, Tissot said.

“It was taken away from them,” she said. “They did nothing wrong” but were removed from their home after finding a housemate dead. Police compounded the trauma, Tissot said.

Tissot said the Cayce Police Department overreacted due to “misconceptions about people with disabilities.”

“We see this every day, where people don’t think other people with disabilities are capable of being independent,” Tissot said. “Sometimes when the police see people with disabilities, they assume they are vulnerable and… don’t ask them what their wishes are.”

A community care facility like Twilite Manor is not required to have medical personnel on-site 24 hours a day under state law, so the Cayce Police Department concluding that the facility does not had no medical personnel has no basis, said Tissot.

Some care facilities, such as nursing homes, are required to have medical staff on hand at all times, she said. But Twilite Manor is not a nursing home.

Tissot said she is generally not in favor of group homes and instead prefers community-supported individual living spaces for people with disabilities in need of care.

But with Twilite Manor, Tissot said she found herself in the unusual position of supporting a group care home because, although she doesn’t like the model, it helps people with disabilities live independently. .

This story was originally published February 19, 2022 5:10 p.m.

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