Four nursing homes were recently fined by the state in connection with incidents in which residents were hospitalized, fell, broke a bone or were burned. On May 6, Sharon Health Care Center was fined $2,320 in connection with two residents who were burned when they were served hot food, the citation from the state Department of Public Health said. On Sept. 19, one resident was burned on the hand by hot pureed egg, the citation said. The resident was eating without help even though the care plan called for assistance during meals.
Five Connecticut nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health in connection with incidents of inadequate staffing and injuries to patients that included cuts and a broken leg. On Oct. 29, Sheriden Woods Health Care Center of Bristol was fined $1,580 when records show a resident with a venous ulcer on a toe did not get follow-up care with a vascular surgeon in September. A doctor’s visit had been cancelled and records show a lack of follow-up care for a few weeks until a doctor saw the wound on Sept. 26. Aurora Senior Living of Norwalk was fined $1,280 on Oct.
When Florence Bolella, director of nursing at Kimberly Hall South nursing home in Windsor, told her staff to remove all the alarms from patients, fear and panic set in. Not among the residents, who were relieved to be free of the annoying beeps and squawks that sounded every time someone with mobility problems moved, but among the nurses’ aides. “The CNAs were so afraid they were going to get in trouble if a patient fell,” Bolella recalled. “It took us almost a year to remove 33 alarms. I eventually had to lock up the alarms, so the staff would stop using them.”
In the two years that the nursing home has stopped using both alarms and restraints, it has seen a decline in the number of falls. Bolella isn’t surprised: “I never felt the alarms were effective.”
Kimberly Hall South is among a handful of nursing homes in Connecticut that have gone “alarm-free,” meaning residents at risk of injury, usually from falls, are no longer outfitted with detectors on their mattresses, chair pads and clothing that emit a warning signal when they try to get up and move around.