In October of 2017, two nursing home residents in Westchester County were diagnosed with Legionnaires disease. One of the residents passed away due to complications from the disease. Unfortunately for the Sky View Rehabilitation and Health Care in Croton-on-Hudson, this was not the first time that Legionnaires disease has been found at its facility.
Legionnaires disease is not typically fatal if it is treated promptly with antibiotics. The bacteria that causes the disease are not spread by human-to-human contact,. It is usually found in soil or water. The likelihood is that the disease at the nursing home spread through its air conditioning systems or showering facilities. While the New York State Department of Health said an investigation was ongoing at the time of the outbreak, no information has been released by the government agency accounting for the source of the bacteria as of January 2018.
Further, this is not the first time that Legionnaires has been found at the Westchester nursing home facility. New York health regulations require that each assisted living facility test its water quality every quarter. Over the summer, Sky View Rehabilitation and Health Care’s water sample came back positive for the bacteria. Afterwards, “Skyview took a very aggressive flushing program. Tests were then fine in August and September,” according to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. In response to the most recent outbreak, Sky View officials told LoHud.com that an independent consulting firm had been hired and its recommendations were being fully implemented.
This is not first violation for the Croton nursing home. According to the New York Department of Health, the assisted living and rehabilitation facility received 44 complaints between 2013 and 2017. The complaints point towards a facility that is not sufficiently maintaining its facilities. Here are several notable examples from just the last year:
- Failure to maintain a safe, clean and comfortable home environment. Sky View violated Section 483.15(h) of the Federal Code by not providing a “safe, clean, comfortable and homelike environment.” According to the Department of Health, a resident’s window had been leaking for over a year and her numerous complaints had gone unresolved by the nursing home. The citation noted that the leak was not a minor issue and “copious amounts of water from the heavy rain outside” would leak through the window. Unsurprisingly, the facility had not put a warning sign near the window to warn residents of a potential slip-and-fall accident.
- Failure to maintain a facility free of accidental hazards. The New York Department of Health also cited the nursing home for allowing a resident’s room to become cluttered. The resident had a medical history of falls and took psychotropic medication which even further increased this risk. According to the citation, the room was not “well-lit and clutter free.”
- Failure to maintain medical equipment and safety equipment. Several of the other citations by the Department of Health dealt with a widespread failure by the facility to maintain its safety and medical equipment. According to the Department’s report, electrical equipment necessary to some of the facility’s patients was neither properly maintained nor routinely tested. Sprinkler systems and emergency lighting were also cited as deficient.