The state has ordered a Litchfield rest home to hire an independent consultant after finding various violations, including alcohol use and suspected marijuana use among residents. In a consent order signed Sept. 12, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) said Fernwood Rest Home Inc. has to hire an independent contractor, pre-approved by the department, within two weeks of the order’s signing. The contractor must be a licensed nursing home administrator and will work to ensure resident safety and legal compliance at the facility, according to the order. The contractor also will assess the ability and skill set of the “person in charge” at Fernwood, monitor corrective actions the facility has agreed to take, and submit written reports weekly to DPH.
The rates of asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations dropped in many Connecticut communities, the latest data from the state Department of Public Health show. Overall, 58 percent of communities saw a decrease in the age-adjusted rate of emergency room visits, while 63 percent saw a decrease in the rate of hospitalizations for asthma, according to a C-HIT analysis of the data. Some 36 percent saw improvement in both areas. The data compares age-adjusted rates for each town for 2005-2009 and for 2010-2014 per 10,000 people. Meanwhile, the state’s overall rate for emergency room visits in 2014 was lower than recent years but still was higher than it was 10 years ago.
Nearly 1,500 children under the age of 6 tested positive for lead poisoning in 2014, according to the latest numbers from the state Department of Public Health. Overall, the number of lead-poisoned children in Connecticut was about the same in 2014 as in 2013, with the total rising by 9 children. In 2014, 2,284 children under 6 were diagnosed as lead-poisoned, compared with 2,275 in 2013. The numbers are roughly equal because some children diagnosed with lead poisoning are cleared after being treated for it, they turn 6 and so are no longer followed by the state, or their families leave the state. But at a combined hearing of the legislature’s Committees on Children and Public Health on Monday, a state Department of Public Health official conceded that those numbers and other state lead statistics may be misleading because of the deficiencies of lead screening in Connecticut.
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.
Connecticut had the highest total number of foodborne illness outbreaks in New England from 2005 to 2014, according to federal data – a distinction that experts say is fueled by better reporting, while higher rates of certain pathogens also may contribute. An analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that Connecticut had 2,259 cases of foodborne illness in 154 single-state outbreaks in that 10-year period. For five of those years, Connecticut reported more single-state outbreaks than any other New England state. For eight years, its outbreak count exceeded that of its more populous neighbor, Massachusetts. And for nine of those years, it topped New Jersey.
The state has fined an Avon nursing home where a resident died and a Bristol home where staff did not document how 10 residents suffered a total of 47 injuries. In all, four nursing homes were recently fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for various violations. Apple Rehab Avon received two fines, totally $5,625, connected to a March incident in which a resident died and a nurse misinterpreted the medical file to contain a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order, according to documents. In the first citation, the facility was fined $3,000. According to the citation, on Feb.
Is this any way to fight an epidemic? The Zika virus, which if contracted during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect of the brain, has been reported in at least 45 states, including Connecticut. There is no treatment for the infection, neither in patients who are pregnant and those who aren’t—though work continues on a vaccine. Of course, that work could go more quickly if there was adequate funding. Federal officials have known about the seriousness of the Zika virus for more than a year, yet important funding has been tied up in the worst kind of Washington impasse.
The state has fined two nursing homes in connection with staff failing to follow notification procedures for changes in residents’ conditions and for a resident who fell and broke a bone. Evergreen Health Care Center in Stafford Springs received two citations and fines, totaling $3,890. In one citation, Evergreen Health was fined $2,360 for failure to follow facility procedures and notify a physician on condition changes of two residents. On March 1, a resident with heart failure, anxiety and dementia complained of seeing spots out of the left eye. A neurological assessment was done, which produced normal results, but the resident continued to complain of a sight problem, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH).
Connecticut still ranks high among states in the use of antipsychotic drugs for elderly nursing home residents, but its rate of use has dropped 33 percent since 2011 – a bigger decline than the national average — new government data show. The data released in June by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), show that nursing home residents in Connecticut, many with dementia, are still more likely to be given antipsychotics than their counterparts in 31 other states. But the state’s usage has fallen in the last 4 ½ years at a greater rate than the average drop of 27 percent, and it is now about the same as the national average — 17.4 percent. That’s down from 26 percent in 2011. CMS has been working with states for the past five years to address the overuse of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes.
Four nursing homes have been fined by the state in connection with residents who broke bones, required surgery or wandered away. In two separate citations on April 8, Cassena Care at Norwalk was fined a total of $5,370 for a case in which a now former director of nursing blocked a resident from going to the hospital to maintain the resident count at the home, state records show. A day after the incident, on Oct. 10, the resident needed emergency cranial surgery and then was placed in hospice care, a citation from the state Department of Public Health said. DPH officials did not have information on whether the resident had died, department spokeswoman Maura Downes said.