Staff members at an Arkansas assisted living community who honored a resident’s request that they cut back on the number of checks they conducted on his room have agreed to adhere to state regulations on the matter after he died by suicide, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Tuesday.
The man, a resident of Morningside of Springdale, a Five Star Senior Living community in Springdale, AR, reportedly had a history of considering suicide and had protested the every-two-hours room checks required by the state, according to an investigation by the state’s Office of Long Term Care.
Staff members, unbeknownst to the community’s administrator, agreed to accommodate the resident’s request for less frequent checks, according to the office. He died April 23 in his room, and Morningside reported the death to the state and local authorities, officials said.
“We were deeply saddened to learn about the death of a resident,” a spokesperson for Morningside of Springdale told McKnight’s Senior Living. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with the resident’s family, and we will not be sharing further details out of respect for their privacy. At Morningside of Springdale, we have comprehensive policies in place to protect our residents’ well-being and remain steadfast in our commitment to providing the highest quality of care.”
The state will monitor the community, which won’t be fined or otherwise disciplined related to the death if staff members conduct room checks as required. According to a plan of corrective action filed with the Office of Long Term Care last week, the community’s administrator or designee will review reports about all residents and will be notified by staff members of changes to residents’ statuses and refusals of room checks.
The media report comes on the heels of publication of a journal article calling for long-term care operators to examine how they are supporting mental health among residents.