LEHI, Utah (ABC4) – When McKenzie and Everett Valdez went to pick up McKenzie’s grandparents from Harmony Hills Assisted Living, they couldn’t believe what they saw.
“There was a person on the floor he couldn’t get up,” said McKenzie and Everett Valdez. “There’s some other people wandering around … they’re like memory patients… it was just utter chaos.”
The Valdez family said the facility never told them there were any issues or even that the Utah Department of Health was closing it. Instead, they got a call from their grandmother, panicking.
“Not even all the tenants knew that the facility was closing, my grandma could just tell something was going on, so she kept asking questions, and then one of the CNAs that she saw, told her,” said McKenzie.
State documents show the Utah Department of Health issued a conditional license on Dec. 13, 2021. Originally, the department had stated the facility could remain open until Feb.13, to give residents time to find a new place. Documents show the state extended it to Feb. 28 because the facility had “failed to notify residents and responsible parties.”
According to documents provided by the state health department, inspectors noted several areas of concern, including neglect. In a recent survey from December, inspectors listed multiple instances of residents saying they had not received medication for days, something McKenzie said she saw firsthand.
“We’re honestly surprised my grandfather is still alive, because it’s one that keeps his heart going,” said McKenzie.
The report also determined the administrator did not follow proper reporting procedures for suspected abuse or neglect. The report mentioned an instance where an employee was accused of saying they drugged a resident so they wouldn’t have to check on them as much.
The survey also stated a home health nurse reported a resident’s briefs were not being changed enough. The report states the woman was concerned the resident, “would start to have skin breakdown due to being left in a wet brief and staff neglect.”
McKenzie said she spoke with the facility multiple times.
“We were assured time and time again that everything was okay,” said McKenzie.
The couple said they are horrified over what they have learned since moving their grandparents out last Friday, but now they are most worried about the people still living in the facility, looking for a new place to live.
“Some of these people can’t necessarily fend for themselves and that’s not ok,” said McKenzie.
To read the full health department inspection report, click here.