Articles Posted in Neglect

The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced the decommissioning of a Georgia long-term care center following an investigation that found the nursing home was infested with fire ants. The  facility, Eagles’ Nest Community Living Center, will be permanently closed following a determination that it can’t provide an adequate setting for long-term care.

According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the VA intends to rebuild the nursing home, and to add more long-term care beds at a different facility west of Atlanta, the Veterans Village. As for the 34 residents living at Eagles’ Nest, they were transferred to other facilities back in April “to limit their exposure to COVID-19,” according to the AJC. Continue reading

The Riverside suffered 48 confirmed and 17 presumed COVID-19 deaths as of December 26, 2020, according to state records. The nursing home has also received 53 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on December 26, 2020. The New York nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of four surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not protect residents from abuse. Under Section 483.12 of the Federal Code, nursing home residents have a right to freedom from abuse and neglect. A June 2020 citation found that The Riverside failed to ensure such. The citation states specifically that a resident who had “dementia and a history of physical aggression” participated in four altercations with other residents after the facility transferred her to a new unit. According to the citation, the facility did not put interventions in place to address this resident’s behavior and to protect other residents in the unit. It goes on to state that one altercation resulted in a laceration to the crown of another resident’s head; a subsequent altercation resulted in the aggressor’s transfer to the hospital for evaluation. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the review and revision of her care plan.

2. The nursing home did not provide adequate treatment for dementia. Section 483.40 of the Federal Code requires that nursing homes provide residents suffering from dementia with “appropriate treatment and services to attain or maintain his or her highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.” A June 2020 citation found that The Riverside failed to provide such. The citation states specifically that the facility did not take individualized interventions in response to a resident’s “increasing dementia-related behaviors that occurred after a room change,” specifically, the resident’s instigation of physical altercations with other residents, including hitting one over the head with a footrest. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the creation of a person-centered care plan for the resident.

A new report by the New York Times sheds light on alleged misconduct by a New York funeral home during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the report, the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home let scores of bodies of Covid-19 victims rot in U-Haul trucks parked outside its building. The owner, Andrew Cleckley, allegedly “continued to accept bodies even though he could not keep up with the mounting caseload and never sought outside help to lessen the burden,”  resulting in “dozens” of corpses “scattered haphazardly throughout the home,” with the families of decedents left unable to find their families members’ bodies. Continue reading

A new report by the Long Term Care Community Coalition highlights “no harm” deficiencies in nursing home facilities.  “No Harm” deficiencies are citations that find a nursing home violated health code provisions in a manner that did not cause residents harm. The LTCCC argues that many such citations in fact reflect harm done to nursing home residents, and more broadly reflect systemic failures in elder care facilities. But since the citations rarely if ever result in financial penalties, the LTCCC suggests, nursing homes have no incentive to address these systemic deficiencies. The report specifically discusses citations at nursing homes in four states: Continue reading

Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center suffered 13 confirmed and 1 presumed COVID-19 deaths as of December 4, 2020, according to state records. The nursing home has also received 31 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on December 2, 2020. In July 2020, it received a fine of $30,000 in connection to unspecified findings of health code violations. The Brooklyn nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of four surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not adequately implement policies and procedures to prevent and control infection. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing home facilities must establish and maintain “an infection prevention and control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment.” A May 2020 citation found that Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center failed to do so. The citation states specifically that did not follow “cohorting requirements’ laid out in state guidance related to the prevention and control of Covid-19. The guidance in question required nursing homes to maintain “protocols to separate residents into cohorts of positive, negative, and unknown as well as separate staffing teams to deal with COVID-positive residents and non-positive residents,” and to transfer residents wither within the facility or to another facility if they cannot separate patients in their own facility. The citation goes on to state that residents who tested negative for Covid-19 were not moved out of their rooms when their roommates tested positive. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the movement of affected residents and the re-education of staff regarding Covid-19 policies.

2. The nursing home did not adequately control pests. Section 483.90 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing homes must “Maintain an effective pest control program so that the facility is free of pests and rodents.” A May 2020 citation found that Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center failed to ensure such. The citation states specifically that “filth flies and fruit flies were observed flying around a 4-bed occupancy room and crawling on the surface of a resident’s personal belonging that had been removed from the room,” and that a mouse was observed in a resident’s room, running across the floor. The flies in question were observed around a pile of “soiled crumpled napkins, 3 browned bananas, an orange, and used soda cups” on the floor of a resident’s room. I nan interview, a housekeeper said it’s “difficult” for housekeepers to clean the room in question because the roommate gets agitated “and may even become physical.” In another interview, the resident’s roommate said the resident has a hoarding problem, the facility rarely cleans the room, and “There are flies everywhere and she often sees roaches in the room.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the cleaning of the room and the re-education of both the resident and housekeeping staff.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has vetoed a hotly debated new piece of legislation that would protect nursing homes from coronavirus-related lawsuits, according to recent news reports.

The bill in question passed both houses of Pennsylvania’s state legislature, though Law360 notes it passed in the General Assembly “by narrow margins.”

Governor Wolf said in a statement about the veto that the bill extended too much protection to nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and various other businesses. “This legislation provides broad, overreaching immunity from civil liability during the current pandemic,” he said. “Shielding entities from liability in such a broad fashion as provided under this bill invites the potential for carelessness and a disregard for public safety.”

Menorah Home & Hospital for Aged & Infirm suffered 15 confirmed COVID-19 and 48 presumed COVID-19 deaths as of November 23, 2020, according to state records. The nursing home has also received nine citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on November 24, 2020. The Brooklyn 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 protect residents from accident hazards. Section 483.25 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing homes must ensure residents an environment as free as possible from accident hazards, and ensure that every resident receives supervision to prevent accidents. A March 2018 citation found that Menorah Home & Hospital for Aged & Infirm failed to ensure such. The citation states specifically that despite documentation for a resident to receive assistance from two persons and a mechanical lift for transfers, a Certified Nursing Assistant used a mechanical lift by herself to provide personal hygiene to the resident, resulting in the resident “sliding down and kneeling on the foot rest of the lift” and sustaining an injury to their tibia. In an interview, the CNA said that although the resident did not have “visible injuries to her legs,” she “did complain of pain.” In a separate interview, the facility’s Director of Nursing said “she believed it was poor judgment” that led to the CNA deciding to perform the care with the left on her own, without the assistance of a second person. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the in-servicing of nursing staff on the use of mechanical lifts. Continue reading

Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare suffered 10 confirmed Covid-19 deaths and 27 presumed Covid-19 deaths as of November 23, 2020, according to state records. The nursing home received 25 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on November 23, 2020. The Brooklyn 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 sanitary food services. Section 483.60 of the Federal Code requires nursing homes to “procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory by federal, state or local authorities” and ensure food is stored in compliance with professional standards of practice. A February 2020 citation found that Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare failed to ensure such. The citation states specifically that the facility did not ensure its food service workers performed hand hygiene before they handled food. An inspector also observed a meat slicer that “was not properly cleaned after use.” The citation goes on to state that despite the nursing home’s policies stating “gloves must be changed or removed before starting another job and Don’t forget always wash hands when you change gloves before starting another job,” a dietary aide “was observed touching the trash can lid without gloves as he discarded empty metal pudding cans,” then donning cleaning gloves, cleaning the tilt skillet, removing his gloves, and discarding leftover food without washing his hands first. The Aide was observed handling various other items and scooping cereal into a paper cup without first washing his hands. A second dietary aide was observed cleaning the meat slicer without removing its sharpener blade, on which meat debris was observed after the cleaning. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the in-servicing of kitchen staff. Continue reading

Over three months ago the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, Howard Zucker, pledged to disclose the number of nursing home residents who died in a hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic. As Greg Floyd of CBS 6 Albany pointed out in a recent report, Zucker has yet to follow through on that promise. To this day, the true extent of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York remains unknown.

Thats why the Empire Center for Public Policy has filed a lawsuit to obtain the information from the state, while CBS 6 is seeking the data through a Freedom of Information Act request. Floyd notes that Commissioner Zucker “has a huge team to gather and tabulate and re-tabulate numbers” of nursing home resident deaths, and nursing home themselves use an official reporting system called the Health Emergency Response Data System, but nonetheless state authorities have delayed the information’s release by citing that it’s taking time to produce accurate figures. Floyd took it upon himself to see just how difficult it is to gather those numbers—by calling and asking health facilities themselves. Continue reading

A new report by the Associated Press illustrates the devastating toll of the Covid-19 pandemic on nursing home residents across the country. The tragedy is not limited to Covid-19 deaths themselves, but also to deaths from other causes that ballooned as staff dealt with Covid-19 patients. One expert cited in the report estimated that “for every two COVID-19 victims in long-term care, there is another who died prematurely of other causes.” Ultimately, they concluded, there may have been more than 40,000 more “excess deaths” in nursing homes since March, compared to the same period in previous years.

The expert, professor Stephen Kaye at the University of California, San Francisco, attributes the spike in excess deaths to staffing issues at nursing homes. By comparing death rates at nursing homes that experienced outbreaks to nursing homes that didn’t, he found that “the more the virus spread through a home, the greater the number of deaths recorded for other reasons,” which suggests that healthcare workers were “consumed” caring for Covid-19 patients—and/or contracted the illness themselves—and therefore unable to devote adequate care to residents without Covid-19. Kaye suggests this effect was compounded by longstanding staffing issues at nursing homes: “In 20 states where virus cases are now surging,” the report observes, “federal data shows nearly 1 in 4 nursing homes report staff shortages.” Continue reading

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