Andrus on Hudson, a Westchester nursing home, received unsatisfactory results in a Department of Health survey dated February 29, 2012. The survey notes deficiencies in 11 areas of care and safety. Among the sub-standard findings, the facility failed to establish an infection control program, and failed to maintain the nutritional status of its residents unless unavoidable
Nursing home facilities must ensure that a resident maintains acceptable levels of nutrition, such as weight and protein levels, unless his or her physical condition renders this impossible. The failure to do so can result in the avoidable development of pressure ulcers (decubitus ulcers, bedsores). Elderly residents of nursing homes do struggle to maintain weight and protein levels. The facility has a duty to take necessary interventions to attempt to overcome these natural struggles. In the instance cited in the Andrus report, an 85 year old woman was admitted with several diagnoses that would exacerbate a struggle to maintain nutritional levels. The facility, on admission, ordered a protein supplement which, according to the DOH, was not provided. Upon readmission, no such supplements were ordered. The resident’s weight and protein levels both diminished during her stay. Certainly these health risks are dangerous when viewed alone. Low weight and low protein also make the elderly more susceptible to developing pressure ulcers and/or contracting infections.
A facility must develop and maintain an infection control program to provide a safe environment for its residents, as well as to prevent the spread and transmission of infections. In the case of Andrus, an LPN was observed placing, after use, soiled medication containers on her medication cart adjacent to clean containers for use with future residents.The same was done with supplements consumed by residents prior to administering the full content of the medication tray. Maintaining separation between new and used medications and/or supplements is a way to ensure that residents do not mistakenly consume those of another resident. This separation also avoids contact between differing medications of residents. The DOH noted this as an isolated incident, with the potential for more than minimal harm.
To read the full findings of the Department of Health, click here.