Seneca Nursing & Rehabilitation Center: Elopement, Infection, Accident Citations

Seneca Nursing & Rehabilitation Center has received 17 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on August 28, 2020. The Waterloo nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of three surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not adequately supervise residents. Under Section 483.25 of the Federal Code, nursing homes must provide residents with adequate supervision to prevent accidents. A May 2018 citation found that Seneca Nursing & Rehabilitation Center did not ensure such. The citation states specifically that a resident managed to elope from the nursing home undetected. The resident in question had been assessed “at high risk for wandering,” according to the citation, and exited the facility through the front door with a visitor who did not know the resident. A Registered Nurse later checked the door and found “it did not latch tight and was easily opened.” According to the facility’s Maintenance Supervisor, “when this event happened, the door must have been opened only 10 inches or so, and the door closer did not have enough power to pull the door fully shut so that the magnet would engage.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the testing of doors for proper closure and alarming.

2. An October 2017 citation also found Seneca Nursing & Rehabilitation Center fell short of its duty to prevent accidents. It specifically concerns “suction machines that were not readily assembled and ready for use on units with residents at risk for aspiration.” It goes on to state that according to a Registered Nurse, “there were many residents who were aspiration risks.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included a monthly audit of the suction machines.

3. The nursing home did not adequately prevent and control infection. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code states that nursing homes must create a sanitary and comfortable environment for residents via an infection control program that mitigates the spread of transmissible diseases and infections. An October 2017 citation found that Seneca Nursing & Rehabilitation Center failed to ensure such. The citation states specifically that the nursing home could not “provide evidence of a complete infection control program that investigates, controls, and prevents infections in the facility, and did not maintain a record of incidents and corrective actions related to the infections, and a wound care supply was placed on the floor during a treatment.” With respect to the latter point, the citation states a Licensed Practical Nurse placed a bottle of saline on the floor beside the resident while preparing clean dressing for the wound on their shin. In an interview, the nurse said “she should not have placed the bottle of normal saline on the floor,” a sentiment that was echoed by the facility’s Nurse Manager and Infection Control Nurse.

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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