ANDOVER, Kan. -- Monday, our Wichita sister station KAKE had a story that showed shocking hidden camera footage from a skilled nursing facility in Andover.
Victoria Falls Nursing Facility was fined more that $150,000 for what the state called abuse and neglect of at least one patient. The video the state has seen and what hundreds of our viewers have seen, has sparked overwhelming reaction on our social media pages. The video we showed you was only part of a three and a half day video the Colcher family gathered. It's a video the state used in its investigation that found staff members committing abuse and neglect.
It has also raised a lot of questions. We took those questions to state regulators and lawmakers who can help prevent situations like this from happening again.
"As soon as we saw it, we sent an investigator. " says Joe Ewart with the Kansas Department of Aging and Disabilities. "This is clearly unacceptable. There is absolutely zero reason for this to occur. The facility failed on a number of fronts."
When asked why the department just doesn't close the facility based on the investigation, Ewart says facility closures are very difficult on residents.
"It is an option we save for cases where there cannot be corrections made. In this particular instance, we believe that corrections can be made."
Donna Colcher's family say they now have just one wish, that for all the suffering they say their loved one went through, the stark video will finally ensure change.
"I believe every nursing home, nurse, CNA who watches this and is listening, will be prepared to give care in a private room as if there was a camera placed on them." says Ewart.
State Representative Brandon Whipple is on the Kansas House Committee for Children and Seniors. He says he is sure fellow lawmakers have no idea things like this are going on and that next session, he will immediately call a hearing before the Seniors Committee.
"We have to bring not only this video, but also open it up to other families who might have experienced similar terrible situations with their loved ones and see what we can do at the state level and what policies to be changed, what laws need to be tweaked, to make sure this never happens again." says Whipple.
When asked what they would like to say to Victoria Falls staff today, Donna Colcher's granddaughter has a surprising answer: she says she would now say thank you, because her grandmother's suffering now has meaning.
"Because of her, she is going to save and help a lot of people. And because of her, her persistence wand will to live, she's going to help a lot of people. Her life means something again and they will forever, until the day they die, they will remember her name." says Danielle Colcher.
Two of the nurses' aides in the video have been suspended and the state is recommending that they never work in a nursing facility again. The RN in the video was immediately fired from his job. Just yesterday, the Butler County Attorney filed a criminal charge against him.
As for Donna, her family says she is comfortable in a new facility in Rose Hill. And, since being moved there, she has not had one bruise on her body.
The response this has received from viewers has been overwhelming. Many have commented on our social media pages that the state needs to do a better job of regulating and response. We will have more on that Wednesday.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, please report by calling the Kansas Adult Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation Hotline at 800 842-0078 or fax your report to 785 296-0256.
If you want to find out whether a facility has violations, see the online provider directories accessible at this link: http://www.kdads.ks.gov/LongTermCare/Facility_Reports/disclaimer.htm
If you need help finding a new care home for your loved one, visit the Kansas Advocates for Better Care website or call them at 1-800-525-1782. You can also contact them through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.