State: Bee Hive Homes ‘a danger to its residents’

Bee Hive Homes in Edgewood is a danger to its residents unless it makes changes in the way the facilities are run. That’s according to a report by the state Health Department in January.

The report details the December death of 91-year old Myrtle Shryock, who walked out the back door of the facility after midnight.

The report says that the woman was seen “wandering outside the facility” from 12:36 a.m. to 1:10 a.m., before she was seen “walking down the fence line and out of sight of the camera.”

According to the Health Department report, she was not discovered to be missing until 8:38 a.m., when she was found outside, cold and unresponsive.

Shryock had dementia and was at risk for falls, the report says. Because of that, the facility’s staff was supposed to conduct night checks on her every hour while she was sleeping; attend to her toilet needs every two hours and “make sure resident is safe due to wandering.”

The report says that the employee handbook for Bee Hive Homes requires bed checks to be done every hour for each resident, “unless resident is mentally stable and locks door.”

After the December incident three people were terminated by the administrator, according to the report, while confirming the three “were neglectful in their care for [Shryock] resulting in her elopement and death because they did not do hourly checks per company policy…”

The 62-page report details other issues including a lack of proper handling of narcotic drugs, leading to the potential for staff or residents to abuse those drugs; residents not having medical protocols updated, some for a period of years; improper hiring practices with respect to a database of caregivers and other infractions.

“Based on observation and interview, the facility failed to ensure that medications were stored properly and failed to maintain a system of records for narcotic medication in sufficient detail to enable an accurate reconciliation, or count,” the report says.
The report also details improper storage of oxygen tanks.

According to a report in The New Mexican, the Health Department found that the facility’s residents were at “risk for harm, abuse, neglect or exploitation” as a result of improper care, with its January inspection resulting in 14 violations and $13,600 in penalties.

The New Mexican’s reporting says Edgewood Police Department turned its investigation of Shryock’s death over to the Attorney General’s office, and last week the department referred The Independent to the AG’s office.

Juan Valencia of the AG’s office would not comment, citing an ongoing investigation and referring The Independent to Attorney General Jennifer Padgett. As of the time this story went to press, Padgett had not returned queries by this newspaper for comment.

That January inspection was the result of an October complaint to the Health Department alleging improper care of another resident, Mildred Nanneman. The complaint alleged that Bee Hive Homes contributed to Nanneman’s death, according to The New Mexican’s report.

“It was another six months before the department reported the results of its investigation to the home. By then Robin and Pat Markley, the owners of the Bee Hive franchise since the early 1990s, had sold it and moved out of state,” The New Mexican reported.

“My mother was the strongest person I know, and she always stood up for the right thing,” Nanneman’s daughter, Kay Wilks, said Tuesday.

Wilks said her 95-year old mother had dementia, and was at Bee Hive in Edgewood, where her family noticed many issues, and brought them to the attention of the management and owners.

“Most of the people here trust the Bee Hive,” Wilks said, adding that she is speaking up about her mother’s care because “if somebody had said something in the beginning maybe something would have changed, or at least I wouldn’t have put my mother there.”

She said one day somebody gave her mother a cup of tea so hot that when her daughter tried it, the tea scalded her mouth. “Yes, they did tell her it was hot,” Wilks said, but added that with dementia “the words don’t make sense to them any more.”

For three weeks, Nanneman’s prescription for thyroid medication went unfilled, Wilks said. Other times staff would give contradictory reports on whether Nanneman had been given other medication.

Because Nanneman was at risk of falling, her bed was supposed to be lowered to the ground, Wilks said, and there was supposed to be an alarm set in case her mother sat up in bed. Neither of those safeguards was in place, she added, when her mother fell out of bed and broke her hip. Nanneman died 10 days later.

She said staff told her that her mother was sleeping in her bed, but Wilks placed tissues in the bed only to find them undisturbed. Meanwhile her mother was left to sleep in a recliner, where Wilks said she was left from the time after supper until breakfast the next morning.

“I said, ‘I know that you’re lying to me.’ Which they assured me that was not true. I said, ‘Watch your video camera.’ Sure enough, I was right.”

Wilks said she made the complaint and is speaking out because, “Somebody’s got to know. … We’re all going to get old, and part of us are going to end up someplace like that. People ought to be safe when they’re in that vulnerable situation.

“We need to take care of our old people,” Wilks finished. “My mother would have done it. She would have stood up for what’s right.”