DHH report: Negligence led to Arc of Acadiana resident's death - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

DHH report: Negligence led to Arc of Acadiana resident's death

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53-year-old Pamela Owens was found drowned in a bayou behind the Arc of Acadiana - Northwest, one hour after staff members noticed she was missing. 53-year-old Pamela Owens was found drowned in a bayou behind the Arc of Acadiana - Northwest, one hour after staff members noticed she was missing.
BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -

The Arc of Acadiana has released a statement in response to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital's finding of negligence in the death of a resident there.

The 27-page report released by the DHH on Monday directly connects several failures and deficiencies within the Arc of Acadiana-Northwest facility to Pamela Owens' death in late June.

In the statement from Arc of Acadiana released Tuesday, Chief Operations Officer Cindy Leleux says the Arc has cooperated fully with the investigation, and implemented all of the action items required by the DHH. They also point out that 2 employees responsible for Owens' care were "terminated immediately for failing to follow facility rules and procedures regarding proper patient care and supervision."

Investigators launched their probe on June 21, using observation, interviews, policy/procedure reviews, and in-service reviews to conclude, "The facility failed to ensure competent supervision," listing several citations. The investigation also found the Arc of Acadiana failed to implement policies on several levels and "failed to ensure client #2 [Owens] was protected from negligence."

The report cites Owens' caregivers broke several rules that the facility failed to enforce, like listening to music with ear buds, not checking on the clients every 15 minutes and not being assigned at the beginning of their shift to take care of specific people. The report also found the facility failed to monitor doors that were opened and two cottages didn't have the required alarms. All alarms were working in Owens' building, although both employees present in the cottage claim to have not heard it.

When one employee was asked by DHH investigators why she didn't hear the alarm, she replied, "The thing is, that I never heard the alarm go off, so to me, I do not even know what it sounds like. So to me, I could have probably heard the alarms, and I would have thought it was my music." Bossier City Police say because they ruled Owens' death accidental, no charges have been filed against either employee.

"They don't have the love, the guidance, the supervision that we had when we were out there," said a former caregiver who says she worked at Northwest for 28 years. She wishes to remain anonymous, saying she still knows many of the workers there. She claims that when the center was state-run, none of the violations listed in the report would have been allowed. "The people they have out there now, they are just there for a check, if you ask me," she said.

The Arc of Acadiana has written up a plan to correct all of the findings, like tightening up policies, adding more documentation forms, and adding a supervisor in charge of making sure the employees are doing their jobs after office hours. The former Northwest caregiver hopes current employees they take their jobs more seriously and give their clients the attention she says they deserve.

"If you don't have special love, you don't need to be working out there," she said. We reached out Owens' family for comment on the results of the investigation. They said they have requested the results from the DHH and have not yet received their copy.

Click here to view the DHH report.

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