Highland Care Center: Nursing Home Cited for Abuse, Infection

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Highland Care Center has received 38 citations for being in violation of public health code between 2018 and 2021 after a total of 11 surveys by state inspectors found multiple deficiencies within the facility.

Highland Care Center has received 38 citations for violations of public health code between 2018 and 2021, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on March 11, 2022. The Jamaica nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of 11 surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not adequately prevent infection. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing homes must undertake to prevent the transmission and spread of disease by creating and maintaining an infection prevention and control program. A December 2021 citation found that Highland Care Center failed to ensure such. The citation specifically describes the facility’s failure to review its water management plan within the previous year; its lack of a Legionella sampling plan “based on the facility risk assessment”; an instance in which oxygen tubing was observed with neither any label nor any documented evidence that it had been changed; and multiple instances in which “a urinary catheter bag was observed touching the floor.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the removal and replacement of the oxygen tubing and catheter bag, the updating of the waster system assessment, and the revision of the facility’s Legionella sampling plan.

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The nursing home failed to prevent infection, they did not protect the residents from abuse after a resident slapped a nurse and the nurse hit back, and the nursing home did not follow food safety standards after finding out that food had been served with bare hands.

2. The nursing home did not adequately prevent abuse. Section 483.12 of the Federal Code provides nursing home residents with the right to freedom from abuse. A November 2021 citation found that Highland Care Center failed to ensure such. The citation specifically describes an instance in which a resident slapped a licensed practical nurse, who retaliated by striking the resident. An investigation by the facility found that there was no indication the LPN intended to harm the resident, but also that it was “reasonable to conclude” the LPN’s actions provoked the resident. In an interview, the LPN hung up the phone shortly after stating that they acted reflexively after being punched by the resident. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the suspension pending investigation of the CNA, who later resigned, and the re-education of all staff on the facility’s abuse prevention policy.

3. The nursing home did not follow food safety standards. Under Section 483.60 of the Federal Code, nursing homes must “Store, prepare, distribute and serve food in accordance with professional standards for food service safety.” A May 2019 citation found that Highland Care Center failed to ensure such. The citation specifically describes observations during a lunch meal that a certified nurse aide used “her bare hands to remove a bread roll from the cellophane bag and placed the bread on the resident’s plate,” in contravention of facility policy. In an interview, the CNA acknowledged that it’s an infection control issue to touch food with bare hands. She added that “she has been in-serviced on how to handle food, and she should have used a barrier when handling the bread,” stating that she was “not thinking” during the incident in question. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the re-in-servicing of the CNA and the education of all nursing staff.

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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