SAN ANTONIO - An assisted living facility for the elderly was hit with violations including having cockroaches and rats, as well as for "failing to ensure a safe and decent living environment". State regulators took action after News 4 Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila obtained video and pictures from inside the facility.
Amber oaks, an assisted living community that houses around 180 seniors, is located at 4415 Rio D’Oro off Nacogdoches Rd. The facility was hit with violations including: a woman in her 80's bitten by a rat in her bed. The state also claims staff members did not thoroughly investigate the death of another woman living there.
"There were just bed bugs everywhere and the resident, she was just killing them. She was picking them off of herself and putting them in a cup,” said a former employee who asked not to be identified.
The former employee says she complained to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
In November of 2017 inspectors went to Amber Oaks, which is owned by Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.
The report says they found cockroaches and rodent droppings in the kitchen area and in some of the rooms.
"There's cockroaches crawling all over the kitchen, crawling on the serving line as residents are being served food,” said the former employee.
And the violation report shows inspectors were able to confirm another troubling incident.
"The resident stated, ‘I was laying in the bed and felt something touch me so I whacked it and then felt two really sharp stabs in my finger and threw the blankets back and a giant rat jumped off the bed,’" said the former employee.
The woman who was bitten was taken to the hospital, but according to the inspection report Amber Oaks staff did not report it to the state, which is required for any "incidents of possible neglect".
The report also alleges Amber Oaks officials failed to thoroughly investigate another incident last September. A 56-year old resident was struck and killed by a car while trying to cross Nacogdoches Rd. next to the facility.
We contacted Brookdale Senior Living, the owners of Amber Oaks, which sent a statement:
"First and foremost, I want to assure you that the health and well-being of our residents and associates is at the forefront of our minds every day. A recent state survey noted some areas for improvement within our community, and we quickly took action,” said Heather Hunter, spokesperson for Brookdale.
The state gave Brookdale 45 days to fix the problems or face penalties. When inspectors returned on December 21st the corrections had been made.
"Bed bugs are horrible I'm not going to say they're not,” said Janette Hayes, the daughter of the 99-year old resident who had the bed bugs in her room.
Hayes says Amber Oaks quickly dealt with their problem, within hours. And that her mother was moved to another room until the bugs were removed.
“I do not have any concerns with leaving mother in that facility," said Hayes.
"In older buildings, you're always going to have some sort of issue and that's no different than being in an older home," Hays told us.
The family of the woman bitten by the rat confirmed to us that the incident happened but did not want to complain publicly. They said Amber Oaks is one of the few assisted living facilities in Texas that is affordable for them and takes Medicare, which is a big problem facing many Texas families.