St. Patrick’s Home Cited, Fined for Fall

St. Patrick’s Home received 24 citations for violations of public health laws between 2015 and 2019, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on December 7, 2019. The facility was also the subject of a 2017 fine of $10,000 in connection to findings that it did not provide an environment free of accident hazards. The Bronx nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of four inspections by state authorities. The violations they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not ensure residents’ right to be free from physical restraints. Under Section 483.10 of the Federal Code, nursing home residents have a right to be treated with respect and dignity, which includes a right “to be free from any physical or chemical restraints imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience, and not required to treat the resident’s medical symptoms.” A September 2019 citation found that the resident did not protect a resident’s right to freedom from physical restraints. An inspector specifically observed on multiple instances a resident sitting in her wheelchair “with a long table in front of her, close to a wall that prevented the resident from rising out of the chair.” A staffer said in an interview that the arrangement was intended to prevent the resident from sustaining falls; the facility’s Attending Physician said in an interview that he did not realize the table “could be considered a restraint.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the use of a “least restrictive restraint device” as a last resort for the resident.

2. The facility did not provide an environment free of accident hazards. Under Section 483.25 of the Federal Code, nursing home residents are entitled to an environment free from accident hazards, and with adequate staff supervision (as well as assistive devices) to help prevent them from experiencing accidents. A November 2016 citation found that St. Patrick’s Home failed to ensure this right in an instance in which staff did not properly respond to a door alarm when a resident opened and moved through a staircase door equipped with an alarm. The resident subsequently fell down a flight of stairs, while in her wheelchair, and “sustained multiple fractures, laceration and a hematoma.” According to the citation, facility staff did not discover the resident until approximately an hour after the event. This incident resulted in a $10,000 fine against the facility.

3. The nursing home did not adequately maintain residents’ drug regimens free from unnecessary psychotropic medications. Section 483.45 of the Federal Code states that nursing home facilities must protect residents from the unnecessary use of any medications that affect “brain activities associated with mental processes and behavior.” A September 2019 citation found that the facility did not ensure one resident was kept free from the unnecessary use of an anti-psychotic medication. The citation states specifically that the medication in question was not indicated for treatment of the resident’s undisclosed condition, and that the FDA had issued an alert notifying healthcare workers that “conventional and atypical antipsychotics are associated with an increased risk of mortality in elderly patients” with that condition. The citation found that this deficiency resulted in the “potential to cause more than minimal harm.”

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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