Preview of conditions at South Dakota State Veterans Home

Investigates

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s 110 nursing facilities undergo regular inspections at least once a year.

The Michael J. Fitzmaurice South Dakota Veterans Home in Hot Springs had several issues in its last inspection report. The latest inspection report on the State Veterans Home, available on the South Dakota Department of Health website, found that the facility was out of compliance in several areas.

Family members and a former worker say the problems have been going on for months, following extended quarantines that confined residents to their rooms.

Vivian and Ken Couch have documented lockdowns and visitation at the State Veterans Home in Hot Springs

Ken Couch: “The Department of Health puts it back on the CDC. The State Veterans Home puts it back on the CDC. The VA, Veterans Affairs, put it back to the Department of Health; vroom, vroom, and around we go.
Vivian Couch: And nobody would say what was going on was wrong,”

Ken and Vivian Couch say that Ken’s mom Erdine, is failing after being put under months of confinement and denied compassionate care visits. Erdine is the widow of a World War II vet.

“Everybody knew it was affecting people’s mental health,” Ken said.

KELOLAND Investigates obtained an email, sent by one of the facility’s social workers pointing out the disturbing toll extended lockdowns have taken on residents, we also combed the State inspection report, which showed that the State Veterans Home was not only denying relatives compassionate care visits guaranteed to them, but that some residents were administering their own medication when their doctors said they could not; plus the home was found to not be providing doctor ordered diabetic diets to 11 residents.

A former worker provided KELOLAND Investigates with photos that she claims show poor conditions for residents. Coming up Wednesday at 10 on our investigation, “Locked Down and Lonely at the State Veterans Home,” we hear from those who say that South Dakota veterans are not being treated right during their final years and are calling upon the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs to make changes.

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