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Arvada nursing home changes hiring process after felon caregiver accused of beating patient

Posted at 3:34 PM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:22:25-04

ARVADA, Colo. -- A nursing home has changed its background check process after Contact7 exposed one of its now-former caregivers, a convicted felon, who's accused of beating an elderly Alzheimer's patient.

Staff at Ralston Creek Neighborhood, an assisted living and memory care facility, hosted a "forum" for residents and families Monday night in direct response to Contact7's story, which aired on July 6.

"Due to the recent presentation on Channel 7 news concerning an abuse incident we are holding an open forum to discuss and answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding this issue," a flyer posted at the facility stated.  "Refreshments will be served."

Contact7 revealed how the accused caregiver, Gwendolyn Kentris, managed to get hired at Ralston Creek despite her felony criminal record, which includes drugs and assault. The facility did not explain specifically how she passed the background check, but simply said she did. Kentris currently faces arrest for the alleged beating of the patient.

A Contact7 producer attended the Monday forum with a family. The facility handed out a letter to those in attendance which said, in part, "When it was discovered that our existing background check service failed to capture important criminal background information, we ... immediately vetted, and began using, a new background check resource; started running all active staff through the new background check system to search for any information missed by the prior service, and will take appropriate action on any new data divulged."

The letter also stated that the facility is retraining "key management staff" on the new system.

Ralston Creek Neighborhood is operated by Haverland Carter LifeStyle Group based in Albuquerque, N.M., which operates three other facilities -- one in Albuquerque, another in nearby Rio Rancho, and a third in Oklahoma City, Okla.

CEO DeAnn Eaton attended Ralston Creek's Monday forum and was peppered with questions and concerns from families in attendance.

In a follow-up email conversation, Contact7 learned the background check changes at Ralston Creek will fall in line with the process it undergoes in other states.

"We have changed to a different service for Ralston Creek Neighborhood to have more stringent background checks similar to what we already do in New Mexico and Oklahoma," Haverland Carter Director of Marketing and Sales Dave Walbright said.

Irrespective of the background check changes, the family of the patient who was beaten is still pursuing litigation against Ralston Creek.