March 21, 2014

Four Nursing Homes Fined, One For Abuse Of A Resident

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The state Department of Public Health has fined four nursing homes more than $1,000 each for one case of physical abuse and incidents that left residents with cuts, bruises and a broken bone.

On Jan. 23, Arden House in Hamden was fined $1,020 in connection with an incident of physical abuse of a resident by a nurse’s aide, DPH records show.

On Oct. 31, a resident who had a history of making unsubstantiated allegations against staff members said a nurse’s aide undressed him or her and pinched him or her in the groin, records show. Arden House investigated, substantiated the allegation of abuse and fired the nurse’s aide, who has denied abusing the resident, records show.

Jeanne Moore, an Arden House spokesperson, said the center suspended the aide as soon as abuse was alleged, conducted an investigation and contacted local police. The aide no longer works at Arden House, which Moore said has a zero tolerance policy on abuse of residents.

Highlands Health Care Center in Cheshire was fined twice in separate DPH citations in February.

On Feb. 4, the center was fined $1,090 in connection with a resident’s fall while the person was left unattended in a bathroom, records show. On Sept. 1, the resident was found under a sink with his or her head against the wall and bleeding. Records show the resident with dementia sustained a cut on the face that needed 10 staples to close it.

A nurse’s aide reported having left the person alone because another aide had told him or her the resident could be left alone in the bathroom. The facility concluded the aide should not have left the resident alone, records show.

On Feb. 25, Highlands was fined $1,160 in connection with treatment of a resident who developed a deep pressure sore on a heel in December. Records show the resident was not educated on how to safely move his or her heels until after the deep injury occurred. Highlands officials could not be reached for comment.

On Jan. 17, Cassena Care of Norwalk was fined $1,160 in connection with the fall of a resident with dementia who was known to become agitated and hit and kick while being cared for, records show.

On Sept. 19, the resident fell off a shower chair and was treated at a hospital for bruises, a facial cut and a broken facial bone, DPH records show. A nurse’s aide caring for the resident for the first time said the resident was “fighting and agitated” in the shower and pushed against the wall so hard that the chair tipped over, causing the fall. Records show the center failed to properly time the medication of the resident for anxiety, and as a result, the resident became agitated, leading to the fall.  A Cassena administrator declined to comment.

On Feb. 25, St. Joseph’s Living Center in Windham was fined $1,160 in connection with a resident who was found on the ground, bleeding, by a visitor on Christmas Eve. The resident was hospitalized for observation and received stitches to close a cut over the eye, records show.

Records show the resident was at Mass when his or her walker was placed a distance away. The home reported that the Mass was crowded and the scene at the end of the service was “very confusing,” so the resident was able to walk away without a walker and get outside, records show.

Lynn Iverson, St. Joseph’s administrator, said the home reported the incident immediately to DPH and has since added staff members on the weekends and when special events are held at the center.

“We take the care and safety of our residents very seriously,” she said. “This was just such an unfortunate incident. I can tell you how badly we all felt about it.”

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Four Nursing Homes Fined, One For Abuse Of A Resident

  1. Absent the particulars, it would be fair to say that these type of occurrences are too common our nursing homes. We have an attitude, reflected in the inertia of our state agencies, the nursing home industry, and even the journalism that reports them, that this is “just the stuff that happens to old people.” But a federal report earlier this month described that nearly 1 out of every 3 patients in a skilled nursing facility suffer a preventable harm due to poor care practices. For the year studied this amounted to 3 billion dollars in additional Medicare costs. The same federal agency ( the Office of the Inspector General for Health and Human Services) issued a report last year, which uncovered that that Medicare incurred an additional 5 billion dollars in charges due to care plans that are simply not being followed, with the costs resulting from additional hospitalizations and medical care. Make no mistake that what is being described in these reports is actual human harm and suffering. Many would say that the price of true reform would be too expensive, but report after report indicates that billions of dollars are being thrown away while residents are not receiving basic and consistent care.
    Though life is never without risk, and an elder could take a fall even under the best conditions, these events happen far too often in institutions professionally registered to provide care for the most vulnerable. “Person centered care” falls at at the bottom of a descending hierarchy which includes commerce, beds, and medical authority. One never hears of any plan to reduce the overall amount of such incidences statewide, and one only rarely sees an ascending level of consequence for violators. Last year the state regulatory agency increased fines for nursing facilities to what is described here, from what was roughly on average about $600. even when a preventable death occurred. In contrast the state legislature unanimously approved a law to increase repeat instances of animal neglect and abuse to $5000. in 2012.
    One might be shocked to learn that in the mid nineteenth century there was no social provision for neglect and cruelty to children – animal protection and advocacy developed first. It was actually the Humane Society that first took the first actions to protect children from harm, and the organizations to assure their protection were a spin off. Maybe we in the 21st century need a “Humane” society, a PETA, or an ASPCA to remind us of the humane care that the elderly truly deserve.

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