Nursing Homes Fined For Privacy Violation, Verbal Abuse And Injuries

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Six nursing homes have been fined by the state for violating a resident’s privacy, verbally abusing a resident and for violations that resulted in residents’ injuries.

Whitney Center in Hamden was fined $6,120 after a nurse aide used her personal cellphone to take a picture of a resident being transferred to a shower chair with a Hoyer lift on June 18, 2019, according to a citation issued by the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

The resident and nurse aide disagreed on what happened, according to DPH.  The aide said the resident wanted the photo taken, but the resident said that was not the case. The aide deleted the photo from the cellphone.

According to the citation, the aide was given a written warning and ultimately fired. The resident’s family was contacted immediately and was satisfied with the facility’s response, said President and CEO Mike Rambarose.

“There’s really no greater priority than protecting the privacy and dignity of our residents,” Rambarose said. “This incident was really regrettable when [the aide] took the unauthorized photo, and it was in violation of our company policy,” he said. “We took immediate corrective action. I’m pleased to say the resident is doing well at Whitney Center.”

Apple Rehab West Haven was fined $7,440 for two violations.

On Dec. 14, 2018, two charge nurses witnessed a nurse aide verbally abusing a resident. The aide was talking on a personal cellphone and told the resident, “I’m on the phone. I’m not talking to you,” before referring to the resident by a derogatory name, according to DPH. The resident was upset, and a social worker was supposed to conduct one-on-one visits for support, but the clinical record failed to show the resident was monitored for the three days following the incident. The nurse aide was fired, according to the citation.

On June 14, 2018, a hairdresser at the facility’s salon noticed a resident had a large hematoma on the right shin, DPH said. The resident was bumped on the shin by a Hoyer lift while being transferred by two nurse aides. The resident was treated at a hospital and returned to the facility three days later.

Laurel Ridge Health Care Center in Ridgefield was fined $6,960 after a resident suffered a subdural hematoma in a fall. A nurse aide was changing the resident on Oct. 8, 2019, when the resident fell out of the bed. According to DPH, the nurse aide caught half of the resident’s body from the other side of the bed but couldn’t prevent the resident’s head from hitting the floor. The resident was taken to a hospital and returned to the facility the same day. The resident required two-staff assistance for bed mobility, but only one nurse aide was providing care at the time of the fall.

“Laurel Ridge Health Care Center takes the care of its patients and residents very seriously. We are confident that the issue raised in the report was isolated and not consistent with the care and customer service at our center,” said Tim Brown, a spokesman for parent company Athena Health Care Systems. “All staff throughout our center were re-educated on our policies regarding two-person assist care and the importance of following policies. The center has further enhanced audits and rounds by our management team to ensure for compliance.”

Harrington Court in Colchester was fined $2,160 after a resident with dementia left the facility twice. On July 7, 2019, the resident was found walking around the parking lot, looking through cars for keys. The staff escorted the resident back into the building. A WanderGuard bracelet subsequently was put on the resident, according to DPH. On Sept. 3, 2019, the resident left the building through an emergency door. According to the citation, there was a delay between the door alarm sounding and when staff arrived. The resident was found two streets away and taken back to the facility.

Bridgeport Health Care Center was fined $1 after staff failed to call 911 when a resident died. According to DPH, two registered nurses didn’t call 911 after a resident with a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order was found on May 15, 2019, with no pulse and no heartbeat and they couldn’t reach a physician. One nurse did not call 911 because of the resident’s DNR order.  The other nurse didn’t call because there was no necessity to call because of the advance directives. The resident’s advanced directives specified that the facility not perform CPR but provide all other treatments, including transfer to a hospital. The two nurses were fired, the citation said. The fine was $1 because the facility is in receivership, according to DPH.

Orchard Grove Specialty Care Center in Uncasville was fined $7,800 after a resident with dementia fell several times between Aug. 16, 2018, and June 7, 2019.  The resident suffered injuries, including an ankle fracture on Aug. 21, 2018, when an aide failed to follow instructions to move the resident with two staffers, rather than one.

Officials at Apple Rehab West Haven, Harrington Court, Bridgeport Health Care Center and Orchard Grove Specialty Care Center didn’t return calls seeking comment.

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