Veterans home defended after death
RIFLE Officials who oversee the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home are defending its operations following media reports this week about an uninvestigated fatal fall there in 2005.The Rifle facilitys administrator and a state official said the fatality in question didnt result from a fall, and the man involved received proper care. The only problem was a failure to fully report the incident to other agencies, said Viki Manley, office director of the State and Veterans Nursing Homes, a state agency.It was only about reporting and not about care of the client, she said.The Rifle incident was mentioned in Associated Press and Denver Post stories Tuesday that listed problems at several state-run nursing homes for veterans. The problems ranged from 42 residents with bed sores at one facility to lack of accessibility to people with handicaps in another.Bob Shaw, who runs the Rifle home, said a federal Veterans Affairs report apparently shows that the incident there involved a fall when it didnt.Weve gone through and looked at the charts. There was no evidence of a fall, he said.The death occurred Sept. 29, 2005. Authorities said they are prevented by federal privacy rules from revealing the identity of the man who died.Shaw said the man got up and had breakfast at about 7 a.m. and said he had a bad headache. A nurse decided to send him to Grand River Medical Center in Rifle, and an ambulance took him there at about 7:20 a.m., Shaw said.Manley said the man was found to have had a massive hemorrhage.The home did everything that was possible and appropriate for the client, she said.But she said it only provisionally met reporting requirements for major medical events such as deaths or loss of limbs.The VA said we didnt fully report it under the circumstances that they would like, Manley said.Manley said the results of a VA survey generally were good for the Rifle facility, as were the results of a similar survey by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.Said Shaw, We give great care and we welcome anybody to take a tour.He said he has followed the media reports of problems with conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.Its a very, very sad situation. We owe these men and women who served a very high duty now to care for them because they protected us, he said. I believe were giving very good care.The Rifle facility has 100 beds, and 77 people currently live there. Shaw said about 75 percent are men.The Rifle veterans home open in March, 1987. The first resident was an 89-year-old rancher named Buck Halford. George Cerise, 85, who grew up on the family ranch in Carbondale, came to the home in 1996 after his wife died. He served during World War II in the Army Air Force and is a commander in the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter.Its been nice in the veterans home, he said. One of his hobbies is making art on the computer and hand it out to the children who come to visit. They give me hugs, he said.