State Fines Four Nursing Homes

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The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined four nursing homes for various violations, most of which resulted in injuries to residents.

Groton Regency Center was fined $2,260 for two incidents that happened in September.

On Sept. 12, two staff members reported that a nurse’s aide was seen swearing and pointing a finger at a resident, according to the department’s citation.

The resident, who had severe cognitive impairments and suffered from vascular dementia and anxiety, seemed upset and scared at the time, according to the citation, but later could not recall the incident. The nurse’s aide denied swearing at the resident.

When the facility’s director of nursing attempted to reprimand the nurse’s aide, the aide left the facility and never returned, DPH reported. The incident was substantiated and the aide was fired.

On Sept. 26, a resident with a peanut allergy was given a piece of cake that contained peanut butter. The resident suffered an allergic reaction and was transported to the hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit. The resident’s care plan failed to document the peanut allergy and a physician’s order for an EpiPen, according to DPH.

Officials at the facility did not return a call seeking comment.

Cassena Care at New Britain was fined $1,730 for two violations.

On Feb. 27, a resident with dementia and an allergy to peanuts, was served a peanut butter sandwich and subsequently had a red, swollen face and sore throat, according to DPH. Staff administered Benadryl and an EpiPen before calling 911, the citation said. The resident was hospitalized and returned to the facility two days later. On April 8, the same resident ate a small amount of banana pudding and had another allergic reaction. The resident was given Benadryl and prednisone. DPH found several lapses in record-keeping pertaining to the incidents.

The facility has “deliberate and specific guidelines and protocols” in place regarding dietary restrictions, said Linda Urbanksi, the administrator at Cassena Care. The dietary aide did not follow the protocol and was terminated, she said.

In the second case at Cassena, a resident with Alzheimer’s became ill and needed hospitalization on Sept. 5, staff determined. At the hospital, the resident was diagnosed with sepsis and a urinary tract infection, among other ailments. DPH determined that the resident consumed less than the recommended amount of fluids as outlined in the care plan.

Urbanski said the resident was seen by multiple physicians and nurse practitioners while receiving care at the facility and was taken to the hospital immediately once staff determined it was necessary.

“Cassena Care at New Britain’s sole mission is to provide our patients with the best care possible and assist with their every need during the rehabilitation process,” she said.

Evergreen Woods Health Center in North Branford was fined $1,630 for incidents that occurred in 2015 and 2016.

On Sept. 23, 2015, a resident with dementia, osteoporosis and anxiety who wears an ankle sensor to prevent exiting the unit was found outside lying face-up on the pavement in a parking lot. The resident’s wheelchair was found nearby tipped over on its side, according to DPH. The resident was taken to the emergency department and diagnosed with a broken right wrist and arm.

On July 26, 2016, a resident with dementia was found on the floor after nursing staff heard a crash. It was determined that the resident fell out of bed because the air mattress had low air pressure. The resident was treated at the emergency department for a scalp laceration.

“It is our primary goal to ensure that our residents receive the highest quality of care at Evergreen Woods Health Center,” said Jaclyn Martinelli, director of healthcare administration at the facility. “It is our utmost priority to thoroughly investigate any incident.

“Enhanced audits were developed to ensure the safety of our residents,” she added.

Whitney Rehabilitation Care Center in Hamden was fined $2,570 for two incidents in which residents fell last year.

On Aug. 23, 2015, a resident with severe dementia suffered a head laceration requiring four staples after falling out of bed onto the floor. The fall occurred, according to DPH, when a nurse’s aide providing incontinence care left to go to the bathroom to get supplies.

A non-ambulatory resident with a malignant bone and bone marrow tumor fell on Sept. 20, 2015, while being moved from a bed to a wheelchair, suffering a left hip fracture.

In a statement, officials at Whitney Rehabilitation Care Center, which previously was known as Whitney Manor, said the citations were issued shortly after the current ownership team took over the facility.

“We took the immediate steps of replacing key personnel with a seasoned administrator and new director of nursing services,” the statement said, and no citations were issued after the most recent DPH inspections of the site in September 2016. “Current ownership is committed to working with our current management team to ensure continuation of the high-quality care that was recognized during our most recent Department of Public Health inspection.”

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