Six Nursing Homes Fined Following Verbal Abuse, Lapses In Care

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Six nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health in connection with cases of verbal abuse, a resident who was given morphine by mistake and a resident who broke a bone after jumping out of a window.

On Aug. 12, Abbott Terrace Health Center in Waterbury was fined $1,300 in connection with the resident who was hospitalized with a compression fracture of the spine after making the jump, according to the DPH citation.

The resident had been admitted on July 18 with pain in the feet, knees and hips from neuropathy that was described as “horrible or excruciating.” The home’s clinical record failed to reflect whether subsequent pain assessments were done or whether the prescribed painkiller, Toradol, was given, the citation states. On July 20, the resident was found outside crawling on the ground at 12:50 a.m., records show.

The resident had been in pain and wanted to go home. He or she forced the window open, pushed out the screen and jumped, records show. The night before, a licensed practical nurse discovered that the resident’s pain medicine, Toradol, was not available and offered the resident Tylenol. The resident refused the Tylenol and threatened to throw him or herself out the window, records show.

The home failed to document that a doctor was notified of the resident’s threat to jump out the window. The director of nursing said the resident should not have been left alone after making the threat, the DPH citation said. The home’s administrator, Andrew Steiner, declined to comment.

Village Crest Center for Health and Rehabilitation in New Milford was fined $1,300 on Aug. 29 in connection with the verbal abuse of two residents and a case of a resident who was mistakenly given morphine and Dilaudid, records show.

On April 18, a nurse’s aide helping a resident use a toilet swore at the resident and the resident grabbed the aide’s shirt and yelled, DPH’s citation said. As the aide then pushed the resident down, the resident struck his or her head on a toilet paper dispenser and landed on the arm of the wheelchair, the citation said. The incident was not reported to a charge nurse for three days and an aide was disciplined for failing to report. The aide who abused the resident was fired, records show.

On July 23, another aide verbally abused a resident and was fired, the citation said.

On July 24, a licensed practical nurse inadvertently gave morphine and the painkiller Dilaudid to the wrong resident, records show. The person was hospitalized and on the second day, he or she violently vomited before recovering. The nurse was fired, records show. The home’s administrator could not be reached for comment.

On March 13, Aurora Senior Living of East Hartford was fined $1,680 in connection with a resident who developed heel pressure sores.

The home’s records failed to show that the heels were elevated in November 2013 while the resident with Alzheimer’s was immobile in bed, DPH’s citation said. The home’s director of nursing services admitted that the sores might have developed because the heels were not elevated, the citation said.

On April 4, Aurora was also fined $970 in connection with a resident with dementia who wandered away from the home on March 25, DPH’s citation said.

Police were called when the resident could not be found at 5:20 a.m. and he or she was found a short distance from Aurora with a cut on the head, DPH records show.

A licensed practical nurse saw the resident walking, fully dressed, near the main entrance, but was not aware the resident was at risk for leaving the facility, records show. The nurse did not redirect the resident, alert another nurse or check the list of residents known to be at risk for wandering, the citation said.  Marc Lei, Aurora’s administrator, declined to comment.

Maefair Health Care Center of Trumbull was fined $1,300 on Sept. 4 in connection with an incident April 28 in which a resident sustained a large cut on the leg that required 15 stitches, DPH’s citation said.

An investigation determined that the resident was cut when aides were transferring him or her from a chair to a bed using a lift, records show. DPH concluded that the home did not have measures in place to prevent injuries. Maefair’s administrator could not be reached for comment.

On July 29, Laurel Woods Health Care Center in East Haven was fined $1,230 in connection with a resident who developed a scab and another resident who was burned on the calf by a hot towel, DPH’s citation said.

A resident who had come to the home in January after having a toe amputated developed a scab on the foot. DPH found that the home’s records did not document that the person’s foot was elevated or that a boot had been in place in March and April.

The fine was also imposed in connection with a resident who was burned on March 24, records show. The licensed practical nurse did not check the policy manual before applying the hot towel, DPH found. The nurse was suspended and placed on 90 days’ probation.

After the incidents, the licensed staff received training on following the podiatrist’s recommendations and was re-educated about the home’s warm compress policy, said Ann Collette, a spokeswoman for Apple Rehab, which owns Laurel Woods. The facility is providing ongoing audits to be sure it is complying with state regulations, she said.

Watrous Nursing Center in Waterbury was fined $220 on Sept. 4 after an aide kicked a resident’s wheelchair, sending the resident into a wall, records show. The aide, who denied the incident, was fired, records show. Collette said that Apple Rehab, which owns Watrous, has a zero tolerance policy for abuse.

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