Bezalel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Cited for Accident Hazards

Bezalel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center received 25 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on January 9, 2020. The Far Rockaway nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of three surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not ensure residents’ drug regimens were free from unnecessary psychotropic medications. Section 483.45 of the Federal Code requires that nursing homes keep residents’ drug regimens free from the unnecessary use of any drugs that affect “brain activities associated with mental processes and behavior. A June 2019 citation found that Bezalel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center did not ensure a resident properly received gradual dose reductions to discontinue the use of a psychotropic medication. The citation states specifically that the resident was admitted to the nursing home already receiving the medication, but the facility did not attempt a gradual dose reduction, and “there was no evidence that the resident displayed any mood or behavioral symptoms that warranted continued use of the medication without a GDR attempt.” The citation states further that the nursing home did not attempt, before the resident was admitted, to confirm their psychiatric history.

2. The nursing home did not maintain an environment free of accident hazards. Under Section 483.25 of the Federal Code, nursing homes are required to provide residents with an environment as free as possible from accident hazards, and with adequate supervision to ensure that residents do not experience accidents. A June 2016 citation found that the nursing home did not take adequate accident prevention measures with respect to one resident who had planned monitoring for swallowing difficulty and aspiration precautions. According to these citations, the precautions included “being observed while eating, sitting upright while eating and for at least 30 minutes after eating, never eat in bed and if resident experiences coughing or secretions, during or without meal hold the feed till totally clear.”

In spite of these precautions, according to the citation, the resident was observed with a cup with apple sauce and crushed pills by his bedside. In an interview, the resident stated that the nurse had brought the cup and medications, but he did not take them immediately because he required a nebulizer treatment; the nurse stated in a second interview that she sometimes leaves the medications at the resident’s bedside when he initially refuses to take them, then comes back later to check if he took them. The facility’s Unit Licensed Practical Nurse Charge Nurse stated in an interview that “the medications should not have been left by the resident’s bedside.”

3. The nursing home did not take adequate steps to prevent and control infection. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code states that nursing homes must establish and implement “an infection prevention and control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment.” A June 2019 citation found that the nursing home did not comply with this section in two instances: one in which a nurse was observed using a computer mouse to power down a computer, then administering insulin to a resident without washing or sanitizing her hands in between; and another in which an inspector observed residents with nasal cannula tubes lying on the floor. The citation states that these deficiencies had the “potential to cause more than minimal harm.”

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC work diligently to protect the rights of nursing home residents.  Please contact us to discuss in the event you have a potential case involving neglect or abuse.

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