September 6, 2011

Danielson Nursing Home Fined $3,000 For Withholding Medications

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A Danielson nursing home faces a heavy fine from the state Department of Public Health after an investigation found that multiple nurses at the facility had withheld medications from patients, including those suffering from congestive heart failure, seizures and hypertension.

According to an Aug. 18 state DPH citation, the director of nurses at Regency Heights of Danielson was alerted in July about concerns regarding some nurses’ failure to administer prescribed medications to residents of the 190-bed facility. An internal investigation found at least 18 cases in which residents were not given medications as ordered by a physician.

Among the more egregious cases was the withholding of 72 doses of Glucophage, a medication that helps to control the amount of glucose in the blood, from a diabetic patient over a seven-month period.

No deaths or serious adverse events were reported. The nursing home, which has since taken corrective actions to ensure that residents receive the medication they need, faces a $3,000 fine for the violations.

The state report says the Regency Heights nursing director initially discovered that one licensed practical nurse [LPN] had withheld medication from a diabetic resident. That nurse was immediately suspended, pending a full investigation, and was subsequently fired, according to the report.

The director then undertook an audit of all medication carts in the nursing home, which led to her determination that “multiple other nurses had also not administered all medications as prescribed.” Patients in all six of the home’s units were affected, the state report says. All residents were evaluated by the facility’s medical director to make sure there were no adverse outcomes from the lack of proper medication, and the nursing home conducted extensive staff re-training in medication administration.

The state report does not speculate why the nurses did not administer the prescribed medications, which were found unused on supply carts.

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