Prosecutors have asked a Colorado grand jury to consider the case of a 77-year-old nursing home neglect victim who required hospitalization after just two months as a resident at the Bear Creek Center. Mary Alice Rateau’s children entrusted her to the care of the center in December of 2018 after they could no longer meet the needs of her dementia and Alzheimer’s. At that time she was in good health, but by the time they visited her in February of 2019 they found her covered in deep bedsores, dehydrated, suffering from a urinary tract infection and oral thrush, and several other serious conditions.
After seeing the results of apparent nursing home neglect, the siblings immediately called an ambulance and had her taken to a hospital, where the staff called the police “regarding improper care of the resident at the facility.” Speaking of what she found when she visited her mother, Julie Dobbs told a local news station, “I was mortified at her condition. She was almost dead. We were hoping and trusted them to take care of my mom. They assured me they would.”
Police Told District Attorney To Pursue Criminal Nursing Home Neglect Charges
According to a spokesperson for the police department, Rateau’s condition made it necessary for them to recommend that criminal nursing home neglect charges be filed, though they did not name a specific perpetrator. The nursing home declined to answer questions but issued the following statement:
“Bear Creek Center is committed to providing high-quality care to our patients and residents. Unfortunately, we did receive a Citation from the Department of Health earlier this year. Since that time, we provided additional staff education and training and submitted a plan of correction to the state. At this time, we are in compliance with state and federal regulations. Bear Creek Center is currently rated a 4-Star for Quality Measures.”
The Colorado Department of Health contradicted this position, issuing a report that said that a review had found “confirmation of the facility’s failure to provide (Rateau) the services planned and necessary to prevent neglect.” Included in the state’s review were comments from staff and former staff members indicating that the facility had been neglectful of residents as a result of staff shortages.