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).
The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined three nursing homes for various violations, including a New Haven facility that was cited for cocaine use by residents. RegalCare at New Haven was fined $1,680 after four residents tested positive for cocaine. On April 30, 2018, a resident tested positive for cocaine after being seen handing a dollar bill with white powder on it to another resident, according to DPH. A physician’s order dated May 3 implemented several interventions, including room searches every day for three days, but the resident’s room was only searched May 4 and May 5. The resident who was handed the dollar bill with white powder on it, who had opioid dependence, tested positive for cocaine on May 1.
Seven Connecticut nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for lapses in care that endangered or hurt residents. Geer Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Canaan was fined $10,000 after a resident with dementia inappropriately touched four other residents. The resident came to the facility Feb. 27, from another nursing home and had a history of sexually inappropriate behavior, according to the citation. Geer documented four incidents of inappropriate touching of other residents between Feb.
The state Department of Public Health has fined five nursing homes for various violations, including two in which residents went missing. Blair Manor in Enfield was fined $3,000 after a resident with dementia and neurocognitive disorder left the facility. Staff noticed the resident was missing around 7:20 p.m. on Oct. 4, 2016. According to the Department of Public Health (DPH) citation, earlier that day five staff members separately witnessed the resident saying he was going to leave the facility and packing his belongings, but none reported it to their supervisors.