North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center Cited for Medication Errors

North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center received 14 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on November 26, 2019. The Mohegan Lake nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of three inspections by state surveyors. The violations they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not ensure residents a medication error rate below 5%. Under Section 483.45 of the Federal Code, nursing homes must maintain medication error rates that do not reach or exceed 5%. A January 2019 citation states that during a recertification survey, North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center experienced a medication error rate of 6.45%, attributing this rate to two instances of medication errors. According to the citation, an inspector observed a Licensed Practical Nurse providing a resident with an inhaler and instructing her to “put the inhaler and her lips and take a deep breath in.” The nurse then provided the resident with another inhaler and gave the same instructions. The citation states that the manufacturer’s instructions for the inhalers in question state in part that users should: “before you inhale, breathe out (exhale) through your mouth and push out as much air from your lungs as you can. Hold your breath for about 10 seconds, or for as long as you can.” The nurse in question stated that she was unaware of this requirement, or that it was a standard practice “to wait approximately 10 minutes in between administration of 2 different inhalers.”

2. The nursing home did not properly implement its infection prevention and control program. Under Section 483.80 of the Federal Code, nursing home facilities are required to “establish and maintain an infection prevention and control program” that provides residents with a safe, sanitary, comfortable environment. A January 2019 citation found that the nursing home failed to comply with this section in an instance in which staff did not follow proper hand hygiene. An inspector specifically observed a Licensed Practical Nurse put a resident’s medications into a cup and bring the resident two “inhalation devices” before administering these medications. According to the citation, the nurse “did not sanitize her hands prior to entering the resident’s room or prior to pouring and administering the medications to the resident.” The nurse in question informed the inspector during an interview that she “usually” performs proper hand hygiene, however.

3. The nursing home did not provide an environment without accident hazards. Under Section 483.25 of the Federal Code, nursing homes must ensure residents an an environment as free as possible from accident hazards, with adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent residents from sustaining accidents. A May 2017 citation found that the nursing home failed to ensure such in an instance where a resident “was observed observed smoking a cigarette with a quarter tank full of oxygen attached to his wheelchair.” The citation notes that oxygen, while not itself flammable, creates an environment “in which fires can easily ignite and burn quickly.” In an interview, the facility’s Director of Nursing told an inspector that the oxygen tank was not activated.

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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