Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation: Infection, Accident Citations

Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation suffered 3 confirmed and 29 presumed COVID-19 deaths as of December 4, 2020, according to state records. The nursing home has also received 33 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on December 4, 2020. In May 2020, it received a fine of $24,000 in connection to unspecified findings of “multiple” health code violations. The Harlem nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of six surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not adequately establish and implement infection-control measures. Under Section 483.80 of the Federal Code, nursing homes must develop a program to prevent and control infection in a manner that provides residents a comfortable and sanitary environment. A May 2020 citation found that Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation failed to do so. The citation states specifically that facility staff were observed “not doffing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriately as they left resident rooms”; that a resident admitted with a recommendation that they be placed on contact isolation with put in a room with a resident who was not on contact isolation; that residents were seen gathering in the facility’s common areas, where staff did not encourage them to socially distance; and that a resident who had been placed on contact isolation and droplet precautions was seen “eating lunch with other residents in the dayroom without maintaining social distance.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the in-servicing of relevant staff.

2. The nursing home did not provide an environment adequately free of accident hazards. Under Section 483.25 of the Federal Code, nursing home facilities must ensure their residents’ right to an environment as free as possible from accident hazards, and in which every resident receives supervision and assistive devices adequate to prevent accidents. A February 2020 citation found that Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation failed to ensure such. The citation states specifically that “an oversized television was positioned on a slant, on top of a smaller dresser in a resident’s room,” and that after another resident sustained a fall, the incident was not assessed “to determine if updates were needed to the plan of care to prevent further falls.” A plan of correction taken by the facility included the mounting of the TV to the wall, and the review of the fall and updating of the resident’s plan of care.

3. The nursing home did not properly follow staffing policies. The Federal Code states that nursing homes must review and update their Emergency Preparedness policies and procedures annually, and that these policies and procedures must at a minimum address “the use of volunteers in an emergency of other emergency staffing strategies.” A May 2020 citation found that Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation did not ensure such. The citation states specifically that the nursing home’s Emergency Staffing Needs policy was not dated. In an interview, the facility’s Director of Nursing “could not speak to why the policy was undated” In a subsequent interview, he said “he was not sure when the policy was created or last updated,” and that he and the facility’s administrator were both “relatively new to the facility” and did not know when the policies were last reviewed. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the audit of al policies and procedures to ensure review dates are listed.

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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