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Memory care facility can accept residents again after sanctions

After a seven-month sanction for violating state rules, the largest memory care facility in Jackson County can start taking new residents again, the Oregon Department of Human Services confirmed Tuesday.

A state inspection in March showed that violations at Fern Gardens Memory Care "placed residents at harm and risk for harm," according to a 37-page report by Adult Protective Services.

Inspectors found multiple repeated violations of at least 10 Oregon Administrative Rules, including staffing requirements, failing to follow residents' service plans and failing to report and investigate abuse and neglect claims. 

DHS prohibited Fern Gardens, located on Table Rock Road in Medford, to take in new residents "while the facility is correcting problems," according to the order.

Fern Gardens also was required to retain an independent consultant with registered nurse credentials, maintain staffing requirements of two caregivers in each 20-resident cottage and two medical technicians in the facility at all times. All medical technicians must take at least two online training courses.

The new order this month lifted the admission restriction, said Nelsa Brodie, Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations project manager, allowing Fern Gardens to admit one new resident per week upon the consultant's approval. Other conditions remain in place, according to Brodie.

Fern Gardens Memory Care, with the capacity of 84 beds, is one of the few long-term care facilities in Jackson County for the elderly with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia. The facility accepts both private and Medicaid residents. Its monthly floor plan starts at $5,000 for a shared room and $5,356 for a private room.

The facility underwent a similar restriction in 2014, which lasted three months. Fern Gardens also racked up more than 140 substantiated cases of abuse and neglect since its opening in 2012, according to DHS.

Fern Gardens' administrator, Lynn Rawlins, redirected inquiries to the facility's West Linn-based management company, Ridgeline Management. Divisional Director of Operations John Ray didn't respond to calls for comments Tuesday.

— Reach reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or tnguyen@mailtribune.com. Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.