King Street Home, Inc., a facility located in Port Chester, failed to keep narcotics separated from all other materials, according to an April 25 report filed by the Department of Health. According to federal regulations, nursing homes must provide separate, lockable compartments for the storage of narcotics and other controlled drugs. The logic for this is simple. It provides access only to those authorized to dispense and handle narcotics, and it makes for simplified inventory maintenance.
At King Street, the DOH found a cell phone with the narcotics. The nurse in charge of the medication at the time was unaware of how the cell phone came to be in the narcotics drawer. At first blush, this seems to be a minor incident. However storing a cell phone in a narcotics drawer displays a level of carelessness serious enough for the Department of Health to document. Furthermore the medication nurse and the Director of Nursing seemed unaware of how a cell phone would wind up with the narcotics. Regulations such as this are in place for a reason, to prevent medication error and potential abuse. At the time of the report, the Director of Nursing was planning an investigation and a re-education on policies to ensure that an incident such as this does not happen again.
The full report of the Department of Health’s findings can be found here.