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The Utah Department of Health has given a Provo rest home until the end of the month to relocate three patients and close its doors for allegedly strapping patients to their beds at night.

Debra Wynkoop-Green, director of health facilities licensure, said state investigators found evidence indicating operators of Rogers Residential Care were diapering and restraining patients to their beds between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m."The patients were unable to toilet themselves, and if there would have been a fire they wouldn't have been able to evacuate," Wynkoop-Green said.

On July 22, the department's health facility licensure division ordered the five-bed rest home to close by Aug. 30. One patient has already been removed from the home, and families of three more are looking for a new rest home.

"This allows time for family members to look for an appropriate setting for their loved ones," she said.

Health officials received a complaint in July that three out of the four patients were being restrained. When investigators visited the home, they found restraints on the beds, but they weren't being used at the time.

"They couldn't explain why the restraints were there," Wynkoop-Green said.

A few days later, however, when a patient ombudsman visited the home at about 6 p.m., he found that the restraints were being used.

"With those observations and with us finding the restraints, we were able to write the citation," Wynkoop-Green said.

Rogers Residential Care was licensed for six patients in 1986 and has a history of violations, Wynkoop-Green said. Last year, health officials received a complaint that the center was physically and verbally abusing patients. A complaint also was filed alleging the center was force-feeding patients.

Patients were incapable of corroborating the complaints, but investigators did discover that the rest home was not following proper food sanitation guidelines.

"When we look at small-bed facilities, we usually don't find the problems we have with larger facilities," said Wynkoop-Green. "But this facility has had repeated problems with sustaining corrections for a long period of time."

Juanita Rogers, owner of the center, can appeal the state's order by requesting a hearing before a hearing officer. The officer would then file a recommendation with the Health Facility Committee, which could confirm, amend or remand the order.

The Deseret News attempted to contact Rogers for a response, but she did not return telephone calls.

Between now and the end of the month, officials and family members are monitoring the care center to make sure patients are treated properly. Investigators visited the home three times last week.