As cases of COVID-19 surged throughout Connecticut and the nation, “a perfect storm” of circumstances rendered nursing homes unable to handle the crisis, hastening the virus’ spread and deaths, experts say. “It’s just kind of this perfect storm. It’s just the nature of the beast. This is the worst situation for a virus like this,” said Dr. David Hill, professor of medical science and director of global public health at Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine. Indeed, nursing homes care for an extremely frail population, many with underlying health conditions.
As coronavirus cases increase, posing heightened risks to the elderly, nursing homes will face growing scrutiny from state health inspectors. In Connecticut and nationally, complying with federal infection-control requirements is a challenge for some nursing homes. Between 2017 and 2019, 145 of Connecticut’s 217 nursing homes – or about 67 percent – were cited for infection-control violations, according to a Conn. Health I-Team analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). (View list of nursing homes cited below).
Six nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for violations that endangered or injured residents. Apple Rehab West Haven was fined $6,960 after a resident reported being sexually assaulted by a visitor. On Oct. 2, 2018, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) saw the resident and a male visitor naked in the resident’s room, and the resident told the LPN they’d just had sex, according to DPH. The LPN asked the resident several times if she was alright and the resident replied that the male was her boyfriend.