State health officials have fined five nursing homes at least $1,500 each in connection with residents who were abused or injured and one who died in July after being outside in sweltering heat for hours.
On Aug. 10, Gardner Heights Health Care Center in Shelton was fined $3,000 in connection with a resident who died after being outside in a garden for more than three hours on July 27 in 95-degree weather, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) citation.
The resident, who frequently sat in the garden, was in good condition at 2:30 p.m. that day but at 5 p.m., was found to be unresponsive and died about 40 minutes later, the citation said. A review of video at the home could not substantiate that the resident had been checked by staff between 2:30 and 5 p.m., the citation said.
Ann Collette, a spokeswoman for Apple Rehab, which owns Gardner Heights, said the company cares for more than 10,000 patients a year and takes all incidents seriously and investigates them fully.
“All patients who enjoy independent activities are evaluated and care [is] planned for accordingly,” she said. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our patient and have closely investigated the incident.”
On Aug. 5, another Apple home, Watrous Nursing Center in Madison, was fined $2,130 in connection with a nurse’s aide who held down a resident’s hands on June 6 when the resident was combative, the citation said.
The resident, who reported being afraid of the aide, was bruised on the hands and wrists, the citation said. The aide was fired after the physical abuse was substantiated, the citation said.
Collette said Apple maintains a zero-tolerance policy for abuse.
“The care, safety and preservation of dignity are our primary focus,” she said. “All staff [at Watrous] received one-to-one education regarding our abuse policy and were required to sign off that they understood the policy and the ramifications for failure to comply.”
A third Apple home, Orchard Grove Specialty Care Center in the Uncasville section of Montville, was fined $1,740 on June 23 in connection with a resident who slid off a shower chair Jan. 13 and broke a hip.
DPH’s citation said an official at the home concluded that a nurse’s aide should have used a shower chair with foot supports and a seat belt.
Collette said all of the Apple homes have strict fall prevention programs.
“Policies and practices regarding fall prevention were reviewed [at Orchard Grove] and in-service education was administered to staff on all shifts,” she said.
On July 8, Talmadge Park Health Care of East Haven was fined $2,230 in connection with a resident who was cut on the head during a fall from a mechanical lift July 24, 2015, DPH’s citation said.
The home’s investigation found that two nurse’s aides should not have had a bed in its lowest position when moving the resident onto the bed from a wheelchair, the citation said. The aides also should have reported to a nurse that the resident was restless before the transfer was attempted, the citation said. The aides were retrained on making transfers with a lift.
The home was also cited in connection with a resident who was hospitalized after being fed 800 milliliters of nutrients through a tube instead of the 150 milliliters that a doctor had ordered, the citation said. The home found that a licensed practical nurse had connected the feeding tube incorrectly, the citation said.
Administrator Ted Vinci said the home has provided additional training for its staff. He added, “The facility strives to provide quality care to its residents and has taken appropriate disciplinary actions.”
RegalCare Prospect was fined $1,530 on July 18 in connection with a resident who fell from a wheelchair and broke a hip on June 4, the citation said.
Staff at the home failed to document that an assessment had been done of the resident before footrests were removed from the resident’s wheelchair, the citation said.
RegalCare’s administrator could not be reached for comment.