Suffolk Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Cited for Pressure Sore Care

Suffolk Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing received 51 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to New York State Department of Health records accessed on April 15, 2020. The facility has also received two fines: one 2017 fine of $10,000 in connection to findings in a 2016 inspection that it violated health code provisions regarding quality of care; and one 2016 fine of $10,000 in connection to findings in a 2013 inspection that it violated health code provisions regarding quality of care. The Patchogue nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of eight surveys by state inspectors. The deficiencies they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not maintain low enough medication error rates. Section 483.45 of the Federal Code requires nursing home facilities to ensure medication error rates below five percent. A December 2018 citation found that Suffolk Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing did not ensure a low enough rate. The citation states specifically that an inspector observed two errors out of 27 opportunities in a medication pass, leading to an error rate of 7.4 percent. The citation goes on to state that a Licensed Practical Nurse crushed a resident’s medication tablets whose blister packets stated “Do Not Crush.” In an interview, the LPN stated that she had not read the instructions. The facility’s consultant pharmacist stated in an interview that when crushed, one of the medications causes a bitter taste and may cause diarrhea, while the other would be more difficult to swallow. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the in-servicing of the facility’s medication nurses.

2. The nursing home did not provide adequate pressure ulcer care. Section 483.25 of the Federal Code states that nursing home facilities “must ensure that a resident who enters the facility without pressure sores does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable.” A June 2016 citation found that Suffolk Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing failed to ensure such. The citation states specifically that a resident was admitted to the facility and assessed as at risk for development of pressure ulcers, though he did not currently have pressure ulcers. The citation goes on to state that the resident’s care plan interventions were not fully initiated until several weeks after they were documented, even though the resident was noted in the interim as having a dry scab or slough on their left heel. While the resident was given heel booties, according to the citation, a care plan intervention involving the use of turning and repositioning should have been initiating before the dry scab was discovered. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the review and correction of the resident’s care plan to reflect turning and positioning.

3. The nursing home did not take adequate steps to prevent and control infection. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code states that nursing home facilities must “establish and maintain an infection prevention and control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment.” A December 2018 citation found that Suffolk Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing did not ensure such for one resident. The citation states specifically that an inspector observed a nurse, during a pressure ulcer dressing change, use sanitizer wipes “6 times in a row without washing her hands in between donning her gloves.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the in-servicing and disciplining of the nurse in question.

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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