‘They were going down fast’ – Families describe coronavirus chaos and death at SE Portland nursing home

Alicia Parker knew she needed to get her 74-year-old father out of the Southeast Portland nursing home and right into a hospital – quick.

He had been recognized with the coronavirus and when Parker referred to as to verify on him in early April, she discovered that nurses at Healthcare at Foster Creek have been not giving him life-sustaining fluids.

It was apparent the house was outmatched by the outbreak – restricted provides, few employees and no containment protocols, she stated.

“They have been happening quick,” Parker stated she realized.

Two days later, her dad was useless.

She had seen him earlier within the day through cellphone {that a} caregiver held as much as him. Richard Parker’s eyes have been closed. He didn’t reply when she tried to speak to him. His chest lifted with quick, labored breaths.

“At that time,” his daughter stated, “it simply appeared prefer it was too late.”

Parker and the members of two different households with family members at Foster Creek described their ache and helplessness watching coronavirus race via the positioning of Oregon’s largest outbreak. The nursing dwelling now has at least 14 deaths and 71 infections recognized amongst residents and staff.

One of many members of the family witnessed caregivers who weren’t all the time carrying gloves even because the virus had sickened dozens on the nursing dwelling. One other stated her guardian informed her that staff have been going from contaminated residents to those that weren’t contaminated.

The households stated the nursing dwelling saved them at nighttime in regards to the extent of the chaotic response.

State inspectors discovered most of the similar issues after they went into the nursing dwelling to see for themselves and introduced sanctions final week.

The day after the inspection started, the state despatched an ambulance crew to Foster Creek to guage each resident. Over two days, paramedics evaluated the entire residents and took 20 of them to native hospitals.

The state additionally ordered Foster Creek to satisfy staffing minimums, appoint a guide to observe the house and report again to the state by 5 p.m. day-after-day. The orders will keep in place till not a single resident on the dwelling has the coronavirus, in keeping with the doc ordering the measures.

A state Division of Human Companies official signed the order April 15, 12 days after Richard Parker died.

“I don’t know why it took them so lengthy to get entangled,” Alicia Parker stated. “Particularly in Oregon, the place there aren’t so many circumstances.”

A spokeswoman for the nursing dwelling’s managing firm, Benicia Senior Residing, stated most of the Foster Care residents have dementia and a number of power underlying well being circumstances that make their care difficult.

The nursing dwelling will problem the state’s findings and order in administrative courtroom, stated spokeswoman Nicole Francois.

Foster Creek had ready for the coronavirus with an an infection management plan and a provide of protecting gear, Francois stated in an electronic mail. When the masks and different gear dwindled, the corporate reached out to the state.

“We made each effort to supply our employees with extra,” Francois stated. “Our efforts included reaching to the state of Oregon and the state didn’t assist.”


Richard Parker was the primary resident at Foster Creek to check optimistic for the brand new coronavirus, a nurse informed his daughter.

Alicia Parker, who lives in Harmony, California, often referred to as to verify on him earlier than the virus began sweeping via the U.S.

Now, she was significantly involved when nursing properties in different states reported dozens of deaths amongst their residents – at excessive threat for turning into sick due to their ages and medical circumstances.

Her father had bipolar dysfunction, she stated, and had lived on the streets and finished odd jobs. At one level, he was underneath the supervision of the state psychiatric assessment board in a misdemeanor intercourse abuse case. He was within the dwelling as a result of he had extreme dementia, she stated.

Richard Parker

Richard Parker is one in all 14 folks from the Portland nursing dwelling Healthcare at Foster Creek to die after contracting the coronavirus.

He lived within the “Sandy” unit of the nursing dwelling, the one with the majority of the infections. Foster Creek had 96 residents on the time the virus unfold over 4 models.

When Parker was informed over the cellphone in late March that her father had change into contaminated, she requested if the nursing dwelling was going to isolate him from his roommates. She requested if the nursing dwelling had a protocol in place for dealing with an outbreak. She stated she was informed “no” on each counts.

“I didn’t know what to say,” stated Parker, 40. “I used to be type of speechless.”

She didn’t perceive why the Foster Creek outbreak wasn’t within the information and why state officers weren’t disclosing it on-line.

When she referred to as the nursing dwelling on April 1 and realized that her father wasn’t getting fluids, she had the employees begin them once more.

On the evening of April 3, when her father died about 10 p.m., a caregiver referred to as Parker to report his dying and inform her that the nursing dwelling deliberate to contact a funeral dwelling.

“Do you’ve gotten any questions?” the caregiver requested.

Parker had a lot.

Within the subsequent few days, she referred to as the Oregon Well being Authority’s essential cellphone line to report the outbreak, solely to get an automatic message. She searched on-line for someplace to report the dire circumstances at Foster Creek and stated she discovered nothing.

She turned to social media 5 days after Richard Parker’s dying.

“Healthcare at Foster Creek has an outbreak,” she wrote to the state well being authority on Twitter. “Are you conscious of this?” ­­­

The state launched the full-fledged inspection two days afterward April 10 – the identical day The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that the dying toll amongst residents was then as much as 10 residents. A nurse and a nursing assistant had tracked the deaths with rising alarm and confirmed them for the newsroom.

State officers are actually ramping up efforts to assist nursing properties throughout the state. Gov. Kate Brown on Monday introduced an emergency cargo of masks, face shields, gloves and robes to long-term care services.

The Oregon Well being Authority has began publicly releasing dying and case counts for all senior care properties within the state which have at the very least one dying or three or extra coronavirus circumstances.

The state is also renting a nursing dwelling constructing to function a restoration place for folks with the coronavirus.

Parker stated she didn’t perceive why it appeared that neither the nursing dwelling nor state authorities have been able to act rapidly.

“They knew this was a threat at the very least a month forward of time,” Parker stated, referring to the nursing dwelling close to Seattle that reported the deaths of dozens of individuals related to the ability in March. The grim toll instantly turned a nationwide story.

“It’s a must to assume that it’ll hit you,” she stated.


Zach Kuzens stated he didn’t know why his father wasn’t returning his calls.

Possibly the morphine drugs had knocked him out. Possibly the tense dialog the 2 had the week earlier than had upset him.

Or perhaps 74-year-old Al Kuzens had given up on his battle to outlive, overwhelmed by the ache from his stage 4 most cancers and worry of the coronavirus that he knew was infecting one after one other of his fellow Foster Creek residents.

After 5 days and not using a phrase from the nursing dwelling, a nurse at Adventist Well being Portland referred to as the youthful Kuzens on April 11. His father had examined optimistic for the virus, the nurse stated, and he was refusing to eat, drink or take his medicines.

“It simply type of hit me ,” Zach Kuzens stated. “Is he going to dwell?”

A couple of days later, Zach Kuzens reached city from Newberg and stepped into the hospital room. When he noticed his dad with an oxygen masks overlaying his face and an IV tube snaking out of his arm, the 31-year-old stated he broke down and cried.

It was onerous to see his dad like that. Al Kuzens had been regionally well-known within the 1970s because the bassist for the Portland band Brown Sugar.

Zach Kuzens was there to persuade his dad to start out consuming and consuming once more and had gotten permission from the Southeast Portland hospital to go to as a result of Al Kuzens was in such unhealthy form.

Al Kuzens smiled when his son, carrying goggles, a masks, gloves and a robe, rapidly twirled his arm up and down – a hip-hop dance transfer referred to as Pop and Lock. Zach Kuzens quickly had his dad taking small sips from a juice bottle he picked up from the hospital tray within the room.

Earlier than Al Kuzens was recognized with the virus, he informed his daughter, Nicole Kuzens, that he noticed caregivers going from one resident to a different with out washing their palms. Caregivers weren’t carrying protecting gear after they went from rooms with coronavirus sufferers to rooms of residents with out the virus, he informed her.

“I truly didn’t consider my dad when he stated that,” Nicole Kuzens stated.

Al Kuzens’ girlfriend, Brenda Michel, stated he would repeatedly inform her that he needed to wait hours for a caregiver to come back after he rang his bell and that ready for medicines took far too lengthy.

“They simply wouldn’t reply,” stated Michel, 63.

Al Kuzens has coronavirus

Brenda Michel has been in a relationship with Al Kuzens for the previous ten years. He contracted the coronavirus whereas staying at Healthcare at Foster Creek. Michel was by his aspect April 21 when he died. Beth Nakamura/Workers

Even earlier than the outbreak, the nursing dwelling had repeatedly didn’t have sufficient employees, state and federal data present.

Residents received about 20 minutes a day with a nurse, federal information present, in comparison with 50 minutes a day within the common Oregon nursing dwelling. State regulators cited the house 3 times in 2019 for repeatedly failing to satisfy minimal staffing requirements.

Whereas Oregon has up to now been spared among the worst-case eventualities of coronavirus outbreaks which have performed out in New York Metropolis, New Orleans and different cities, senior care properties within the state proceed to face a specific menace.

About half of all coronavirus deaths in Oregon – 43 – are folks from nursing properties, assisted dwelling facilities and a retirement neighborhood. As of final Friday, 33 properties had at least one confirmed case.

Zach Kuzens stated he was heartened by his dad’s response when he visited him.

Al Kuzens puzzled how his son was allowed into the hospital.

Zach Kuzens raised his proper arm and flexed his bicep. “I fought my approach in,” he stated as he slapped his arm. Al Kuzens responded by elevating his personal arm.

“Good job, son,” Zach Kuzens remembers his dad saying. He grabbed his father’s hand and squeezed it.

On Tuesday, Al Kuzens died. Brenda Michel was with him on the hospital.


Final Friday, April Anderson, 29, FaceTimed her father at Foster Creek.

Her mother held her cellphone to the window outdoors his room on the nursing dwelling in what had change into a daily cybervisit.

Anderson noticed her dad mendacity in mattress, barely responsive.

“Hello, boo,” John Anderson, 56, stated when he realized his daughter was there, digitally transported from her dwelling in Los Angeles.

Crying, Anderson waved at her dad, informed him she liked him and tried to smile.

She and her mom, Theresa Anderson, had additionally FaceTimed him per week earlier.

He was comfortable to see his spouse and his solely daughter, much more as a result of his early-onset dementia had made him particularly emotional. He got here to the window, rolling up in his wheelchair, and smiled.

He appeared good then, Anderson stated. But it surely was solely a matter of time, she feared, earlier than he would get sick, too.

On the blurry display screen, she stated she noticed a caregiver push her father’s wheelchair nearer to the window with naked palms.

“No approach my dad wouldn’t have been contaminated,” Anderson stated. “And I knew.”

Final week throughout the name, her father couldn’t come to the window.

He had all the time been robust, she stated – by no means a complainer. However this time, he let one thing slip – one phrase confirmed he was hurting.

“I’m effective,” he stated when requested how he was doing. Then he added: “Kinda.”

John Anderson fell right into a deep sleep 5 minutes into the dialog.

Hours later, a nurse referred to as and informed April Anderson that her father had the coronavirus.

April Anderson FaceTimed her father once more Tuesday. A nurse informed her he was on “consolation care.”

That, Anderson stated, means her father seemingly received’t make it.

Please email me with any feedback, corrections, or ideas.

— Fedor Zarkhin


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