The Department of Health has fined Mosholu Parkway Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in the Bronx, NY over $55,000 for numerous violations, the most disturbing of which relates to an issue that has been discussed previously on this blog, the failure to keep the facility free of accident hazards. In this particular instance, a resident who was known to be an “unsafe smoker” was severely burned over sixty percent of his body while smoking unsupervised.
According to the facility’s own policies, residents are not allowed to smoke unless supervised. This supervision must be maintained during the entire period that the resident is smoking, which is permitted in the “quiet room.” At no time are the residents allowed to have their own smoking materials, i.e. matches and cigarettes, but rather these are dispensed by the staff as needed.
On this occasion, the resident is seen on video in his wheelchair moving to and from the quiet room with no supervision. He lights a cigarette on his own with matches that he produces from the side of his wheelchair. At some point thereafter, although not seen on the video, the resident lit himself on fire while unsupervised in the smoking room.
In addition to violating CFR 483.25(h), Mosholu Parkway Nursing Home violated its own policies and procedures in this instance. The staff, however, failed to meet these internal standards. This failure affects not only the resident in question, but also all other residents who are exposed to a fire hazard. A situation such as this can prove to be deadly both for the smoker and for other residents in the event they become trapped in a burning building.
The complete DOH report, including violations for failure to prevent abuse and neglect, and failure to train employees in emergency procedures, can be accessed here.