Three nursing homes face fines for lapses in care related to residents who were injured or whose wounds were not properly treated.
In one case, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) cited Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford for failing to provide adequate care to a resident who refused medications and wound treatment for so long that her leg wound was found to be “infested with maggots,” a state inspection report says. After the resident, who was diagnosed with dementia and depressive disorder, developed leg sores, she refused nursing care and medications, telling staff “I just want to die” and acting out aggressively.
According to the DPH report, a psychiatric evaluation last August recommended that the resident be transferred to an inpatient psychiatric facility. But an attending physician at Candlewood refused to sign an emergency certificate approving a psychiatric admission, saying the resident was not in imminent danger and would be harmed by being sedated and restrained, the report says.
The resident continued to refuse treatment at Candlewood, as her wounds festered. The nursing home was cited for failing to develop an alternative plan of care to address the resident’s ongoing refusal of treatment. The DPH imposed a $1,020 fine.
In another case, Orchard Grove Specialty Care Center in Uncasville was cited for lapses in care involving a resident who sustained a pelvic fracture in a fall, and another resident who was not properly treated for constipation. That home also was fined $1,020.
In Meriden, Apple Rehab Coccomo was cited for two incidents, one in which a resident had a significant weight loss – 12.3 percent in three weeks – after losing his or her dentures. An assessment revealed the resident had trouble chewing, but the facility’s dietician was not made aware of the problem, the DPH report says.
Another resident suffered an injury while being transferred from a bed to a wheelchair without the aid of a mechanical lift, as required in the patient’s care plan. A nurse’s aide was disciplined for that lapse, according to the report. The nursing home was fined $2,180 for the two incidents.
How does one make sense of these events and these fines? A quick internet search reveals that a Florida home was fined $16,000 dollars for maggots by its equivalent DPH in 2010. A home in Sanford Maine was fined $10,000 in 2010 for a similar problem. Connecticut also has had a rash of choking in nursing homes in the last 10 months. While there was one fine of $10,000, the first 3 on average were under $600. What is the value of a human life? In California this month, that state’s DPH fined a nursing home $100,000 for a very similar incident ( a dementia patient choking when a care plan was not followed.)
Are we to accept that this is just the stuff that happens to old people? Or is this what happens to old people in states that have low staffing requirements, poor training, and low enforcement? A process that is not transparent or publicly accountable? A 2008 Congressional Letter ( Committee on Energy and Commerce) described: “Nursing homes with serious quality problems continue to cycle in and out of compliance, causing residents to suffer needlessly from malnutrition, dehydration, pressure sores, uncontrolled pain, physical and sexual abuse, and even death. Authorities repeatedly point to a weak enforcement system under which state inspectors often fail to identify serious violations and, when they do, they tend to underrate the scope and severity of the problem, which then translates into low level sanctions largely viewed as a cost of doing business.” Is this Connecticut? If it is then there appears to be more compassion for the nursing home “industry” than there is for the elders occupying the beds.
Why would the dietician not knowing about a 12 pound weight loss be the rationale excuse for the LOSS OF DENTURES which is such a common problem in nursing homes? Dentures fall and break and medicare will not pay for five years (when the resident is dead) to replace them. It took one resident 9 months to be seen by Healthdrive and get fitted for her broken dentures because it is the policy of the facility (one of the 3 listed here) not to call Healthdrive until there are numerous residents to be seen on the list. Nevermind the resident who lost 12 lbs. , then an additional 8 lbs. waiting the 9 months. And then the fine…for the lost dentures? No. For the weight loss? No. For the death of the resident due to the 20 lb. weight loss with a now fragile elderly down to 84 lbs? No. There is one thing the facility did do though. They gave the daughter a bill for the balance due totally $50K.
Family Council Representative, a family run family council advocating for the quality of care and quality of life care concerns.