A recent report by the Long Term Care Community Coalition raises important questions about “no harm” deficiencies in nursing homes across the United States. “No Harm” deficiencies are health violations cited by official surveyors that are classified as causing no harm to residents. As the LTCCC argues in its Elder Justice newsletter, “no harm” citations often appear on their face to indeed be harmful, and that because they rarely result in financial penalties, this potentially erroneous classification leaves nursing homes without any incentive to correct systemic deficiencies. The LTCCC report describes several recent “no harm citations,” asking the reader whether the classification appears honest and accurate.
New York: Glens Falls Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Cited for Medication Error
A New York nursing home was recently cited over findings that the facility’s staff “administered medications including antidepressants, insulin, a narcotic pain medication, and a blood thinner to the wrong resident,” according to the LTCCC. These errors resulted in the resident’s transfer to a local emergency room, but the issue was nonetheless cited as causing no harm.
New Hampshire: Country Village Center, Genesis Healthcare Cited for Pressure Ulcer Care
A New Hampshire nursing home was recently cited over findings that facility staff did not perform a scheduled dressing change on a resident’s pressure ulcer, which caused the wound area to worsen. An interview with the resident’s unit manager revealed that the dressing change was missed, with the “last known dressing change occurr[ing] nearly six days prior.” Still, the failure was classified as causing no harm.
Pennsylvania: Monroeville Rehabilitation and Wellness Center Cited for Unplanned Weight Loss
A Pennsylvania nursing home was cited over findings it failed to ensure multiple residents “maintained acceptable parameters of nutritional status, leading to significant unplanned weight loss.” According to the LTCCC’s analysis, one resident at the facility sustained “5.4% weight loss over 30 days,” while another sustained “20% weight loss over a 180-day period.” Nonetheless a surveyor classified these deficiencies as “no harm.”
Hawaii: Aloha Nursing and Rehab Centre Cited for Neglect
A Hawaii nursing home was cited over findings of quality of life deficiencies. Among other things, a surveyor found that a resident was lying on his bed in a “bunched up” gown, with unclean hair and “excoriations on his lower leg.” Subsequent observations over the course of the following days revealed that the same resident “was still in the same hospital gown, with hair and skin still unkempt and ungroomed.” The LTCCC notes that a surveyor was told the nursing home was understaffed and unable to provide personal care to residents. The deficiency was nonetheless classified as causing no 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.