Six nursing homes have been fined more than $1,000 each by the state Department of Public Health in connection with incidents of residents being burned, losing teeth or breaking hips and one resident who molested at least seven others.
On March 25, Masonicare of Newtown was fined $1,590 in connection with at least nine incidents in which one resident inappropriately touched the legs, groin or breasts of at least seven female residents.
The DPH citation detailed that the resident made sexual comments toward or touched female staff members, visitors and residents between August and November of 2013. Though the resident was placed on one-to-one supervision at times and was twice sent to a psychiatric facility, DPH concluded that the home had failed to consistently correct the resident’s behavior or prevent the sexual abuse.
Margaret Steeves, a Masonicare spokeswoman, said some residents with advanced dementia can display this type of behavior and “these behaviors can be difficult to manage.” The home used a number of interventions, including psychiatric interventions, to control the behavior while respecting the rights of all residents, she said.
Such incidents must be reported to DPH immediately, and in the case of this resident, the home did not always follow that practice, she said. When the lapse in reporting was discovered, the home’s administrator immediately reported that to DPH and put in place steps to make sure that won’t happen again, she said.
Each family whose relative was involved was contacted, she said.
“The families were very understanding and none filed a complaint,” Steeves said.
In another DPH citation, Whitney Manor of Hamden was fined $1,360 on March 11 in connection with an incident in which a resident lodged his or her head between the vertical slats of a bed rail, records show.
On Feb. 25, the resident was found between the slats, bleeding from the mouth, with some teeth on the floor and some embedded in the bed rail, records show. The resident was hospitalized and received dental care.
The home determined that the side rails were seven and three-quarters inches apart, records show. It replaced many of the beds with rails with smaller openings between slats, records show.
DPH found that the director of nursing had not directed the staff to assess the 52 residents’ behavior or condition to identify whether they were at risk for entrapment in the side rails until March 3.
A spokesperson for Whitney Manor said the home rectified the situation. The resident was “never in harm and did not incur any injuries secondary to the incident,’’ the spokesperson said.
Andrew House of New Britain was fined $1,020 in connection with an April 21 incident in which a resident with lung disease was burned while smoking and using an oxygen tank on the grounds of the home, records show.
Despite being warned on April 1 by a social worker about the dangers of smoking while on oxygen, the resident had gone outside and done so, records show. A licensed practical nurse reported that the oxygen had combusted while the person was smoking, records show.
The initial report was that the resident had a reddened nose and no other injury, but a wound assessment by a specialist on April 22 found that the person had second-degree burns on the face and lower lip and blisters and burns on the fingers and ears, records show. An investigation concluded that the home’s records failed to reflect that the person had been assessed for smoking before the incident, records show.
Renata Cocozza, administrator of Andrew House Healthcare, said the staff instituted prompt medical care following the incident, notified DPH and cooperated in its investigation. The home drafted a plan of correction with DPH, which was accepted.
On May 12, Apple Rehabilitation of West Haven was fined $2,320 in connection with the treatment of four residents with pressure sores or deep tissue injuries and two residents who dislocated a hip or a leg.
On May 23, 2013, a resident recovering from hip surgery began complaining of more pain. The resident was hospitalized and diagnosed with a dislocated left hip. A brace was ordered for the resident’s hip. On May 27, the resident returned to the hospital with another dislocation of the same hip, and the hospital determined that the brace had been placed incorrectly on the person, DPH found.
On April 19, a resident recovering from hip replacement surgery reported feeling something “pop” after being helped to lie down in bed, records show. A nurse’s aide said he or she had lifted the resident’s legs onto the bed at the resident’s request. The resident complained of pain and the aide said he or she asked the aide to “push on it,” records show.” The aide reported pushing on the person’s leg but “did not do it too hard,’’ records show. The person was hospitalized and diagnosed with a dislocated prosthetic femur, records show.
Ann Collette, a spokeswoman for Apple Rehab, said the nursing staff at the home was re-educated in the importance of using pressure-relieving devices to prevent pressure sores. The staff was also trained in the proper application of a brace and in using two staff members to care for residents who have had hip surgery, she said.
The Summit of Plantsville in Southington was fined $1,230 on May 29 in connection with a Jan. 13 incident in which a resident fell and broke a hip.
The resident came out in a hallway without a walker, and as a licensed practical nurse went into retrieve the walker, the resident fell and broke a hip, records show. The home concluded that the nurse should have braced the resident and then called for help, rather than leaving the person alone, DPH records show.
The Summit’s administrator could not be reached for comment.
On May 21, the Bridgeport Health Care Center was fined $1,090 in connection with incidents in which one resident broke a hip and another sustained a cut on the leg that required stitches, records show.
On Jan. 24, the resident received the cut while being moved to a wheelchair by one aide – instead of the two required by a doctor – and without protective leg coverings, records show. An investigation found a nurse’s care card failed to list those requirements, records show.
On Feb. 20, a resident who was a paraplegic and obese fell from a shower chair and broke a hip, records show. A registered nurse concluded the person should not have been left alone in the shower where he or she fell, records show. An investigation also found that the chair used in the shower was too small for the resident, records show.
The home’s administrator could not be reached for comment.