By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

After deaths, state imposes requirements on care home

The state of Oregon has ordered a local care home for dementia patients to stop taking in any new patients until further notice, and to maintain minimum staffing levels.

Eleven patients at Marjorie House Memory Care Community in McMinnville have died from COVID-19 this month, according to Yamhill County Public Health. The state’s weekly outbreak report issued Dec. 16 said 42 people have been infected.

Marjorie House Administrator Ashley Dowell did not return calls for comment by press time.

Yamhill County reported 87 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the total of Saturday, Sunday and Monday, bringing the county’s total to 2,406 cases to date. It also reported another death, making 32 county residents who have died with the disease so far.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 876 new cases on Monday, the first time since mid-November the daily increase in new cases has fallen below 1,000. It reported six additional deaths, bringing the state to 1,347 deaths and 103,755 cases to date.

The state Department of Human Services has notified Marjorie House that it faces possible civil penalties for violating numerous regulations.

Regulators said they witnessed problems at the center, which is licensed for 46 beds for patients with dementia, in addition to what led to an outbreak of COVID-19.

“Based on information received by the Department on or about December 11, 2020 and December 12, 2020, it has been determined that the Facility is not in substantial compliance with Oregon Administrative Rules for Residential Care Facilities and the Facility’s non-compliance placed residents at harm and risk for serious harm,” the state said in a letter to the facility last week.

“Concerns are related to: abuse of resident(s) currently under investigation with APS; inadequate staffing; staff unable to meet the scheduled and unscheduled needs of the residents; staff unaware of where resident care plans are located; staff unaware of which residents are positive of COVID-19; and lack of administrative oversight.”

The letter states residents are at “risk of immediate jeopardy” as a result.

It ordered Marjorie House to have six caregivers on both day and evening shifts, five on the overnight shift, and a registered nurse “onsite and available 40 hours per week.”

It also ordered the center to hire a consultant who is a registered nurse, not affiliated with Marjorie House, and approved by the DHS, to review all of the center’s practices and report back to the state every two weeks. The consultant was to be onsite by Dec. 18, and to visit for at least eight hours, at least four times a month, according to the letter.

Calls from the News-Register to Marjorie House administration were not returned by press time on Monday.

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