Vestal Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center: Infection Citations, COVID Fatalities

Vestal Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center suffered 7 deaths from Covid-19 as of June 8, 2020, per state records. The nursing home also received 38 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, two of which concerned infection prevention protocols, according to health records accessed on June 9, 2020. The Vestal nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of four surveys by state inspectors. The violations they describe include the following:

1. The nursing home did not maintain an infection prevention and control program. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code requires nursing homes to establish and maintain an IPCP that helps prevent the transmission of diseases and infections. A March 2018 citation found that Vestal Park did not ensure such. The citation states specifically that a resident was observed with her catheter bag “lying directly on the floor through 4 days of the survey process.” In an interview, a Certified Nursing Assistant said that the catheter bag “was to be covered when out of her room,” and when in the room it was “positioned hanging from the bed and not touching the floor,” as touching the floor posed an infection control risk. One of the facility’s Licensed Practical Nurses stated in another interview that “the resident’s catheter bags were to be covered and not to touch the floor as that was a[n] infection control issue.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included a weekly audit of all residents with catheters and the re-education of nursing staff on infection control policies and procedures.

2. An early citation concerned infection control deficiencies at Vestal Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center during an October 2016 inspection. The citation states that two residents were allowed to eat from plates other residents had eaten from; that a Licensed Practical Nurse did not disinfect a glucometer between using it on one resident and on a second; and that an LPN did not disinfect a glucometer after using it on a different resident. The citation states that these deficiencies had the “potential to cause more than minimal harm.”

3. The nursing home did not ensure adequate pressure ulcer (bedsore) treatment and care. Section 483.25 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing homes must ensure residents with pressure ulcers receive treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection, and prevent the development of new ulcers. A March 2018 citation found that Vestal Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center did not timely assess and treat a resident’s pressure ulcer, and that one of the resident’s pressure ulcers worsened. Among other things, the citation states that although although notes in the resident’s records documented the wound on their heel observed by facility staff, it appeared to have taken several weeks from the initial observation of redness on the heel to the assessment of the wound by a qualified professional, and that the first documented assessment by a professional occurred after it was documented that the resident had a Stage II ulcer on their heel. A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the re-education of nursing staff on matters including the timely reporting of skin integrity issues.

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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