New York Nursing Home Employee Arrested for Failing to Report Patient’s Injurious Fall

cuffs.jpgTanya Johnson, 34, a licensed practical nurse at the Good Shepherd Village at Endwell, located in Broome County, New York, was arrested in May 2014 for failing to report an injurious fall of a patent under her care. Appearing before the Town of Union Justice Court, Johnson was charged with Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the Second Degree, and Willful Violation of Health Laws. Johnson could face four years in prison if convicted of the top charge, a class E felony.

On October 18, 2013, Johnson was bathing an elderly man when both she and the patient fell. When Johnson picked the man up, she noticed that the man had abrasions in his buttocks area as a result of the fall. However, the Johnson failed to follow the nursing home’s policy and did not ask a colleague to assess the patient’s injuries. When asked by staff members about the elderly man’s abrasions, Johnson denied that he had fallen. In a written statement, she indicated that the resident “did not fall or hit himself at any time in the bathroom this morning.” During an investigation into the matter, Johnson told an investigator with the Attorney General’s office that the patient did fall and suffered injuries as a result.

Commenting on the nurse’s arrest, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman stated, “Our office will prosecute anyone who fails to meet their legal obligations to provide care to our seniors. New Yorkers deserve every assurance that their loved ones will be appropriately cared for in nursing facilities.”

In April 2013, the New York State Health Department cited the nursing home for numerous deficiencies that could have harmed residents. In one instance, health inspectors determined that the facility failed to provide necessary incontinence care for a resident whose room smelled like urine. In January 2013, the resident, who suffered from dementia, arthritis and degenerative joint disease was found on the floor of her room with her incontinence brief wet. The resident’s care team met to discuss the fall and determined that she needed to be checked on every two hours to help her go to the bathroom. However, the resident’s spouse told investigators that he often found his wife “soaked” when he came to visit her.

After reviewing the patient’s medical records, inspectors discovered that the resident’s toileting care plan was not being followed by staff members. In many instances, nursing home employees checked the resident for toileting assistance only four times per day, far less than what is prescribed in the patient’s car plan.

According to the “Nursing Home Compare” website, Good Shepard Village at Endwell received a below average overall rating. The facility’s health inspections rating was also below average.

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