Duty to Inform

Lack of Communication

Fox Carolina reported on one family’s complaint against a Fundamental facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Patricia Galloway’s granddaughter is concerned about lack of communication from Valley Falls Terrace nursing home. We see identical complaints as nursing home lawyers all the time.

“She was beautiful on the inside and she deserved so much better than what she got.”

The resident passed away from COVID-19. Christian Atkins said better communication could have made a difference in her grandmother’s final days.

“She was there for almost three years so obviously she accumulated some things and when we shook her decorative wreath, there were cockroaches in them,” Atkins told us. “That is disgusting. I was so angry and so upset because I had to sit here and wonder ‘What has happened to her that I don’t know about?'”

When the pandemic hit, Atkins said she saw Valley Falls Terrace take a turn for the worse. DHEC reports show 50 residents and 22 staff members testing positive at Valley Falls Terrace. 10 patients have died, including Patricia Galloway.

“The longer the pandemic went on, the less the phone calls became,” she told us.

Phone Calls

Five weeks before her grandmother died, Atkins got a phone call saying her grandmother had pneumonia but tested negative for COVID-19.  Atkins said the facility turned her grandmother’s original hall into a COVID wing. The facility moved Galloway to another hall.

“They did a random testing, and she was negative and everything was fine. So, why were you moving her across the building and creating a COVID wing? I didn’t understand,” Atkins said. 

Atkins said no answers were given. Atkins felt misinformed when the nursing home told her that her grandmother was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

“They said ‘We can’t tell you anything…all we can tell you is that she finished her antibiotics,'” Atkins said.

“‘Can someone please tell me where is my grandmother? what is going on?’ They said ‘We can’t tell you anything, you need to call the hospital.’ I’m like ‘which hospital?!'” Atkins said.

“Why is that all you can tell me? I’m her power of attorney, I’m her next of kin, why can you not tell me what’s going on?” Atkins asked.

Better communication would have provided final moments they’ll never get back. “She didn’t have to die this way. She didn’t need to spend the last 6 months of her life on this earth secluded completely,” she said.

“Consumers have lost confidence in nursing homes — or better said, they’ve become deathly afraid of entering one,” Sidney Greenberger, CEO of skilled nursing operator AristaCare, told SNN earlier this month.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that South Carolina’s average of 63.8 new cases per 100,000 tests over the last seven days is the highest of any state in the nation.