Eight nursing homes have been fined more than $1,000 each by the state Department of Public Health in connection with incidents in which residents sustained cuts or broken bones or suffered from lapses in care.
DPH fined The Springs at Watermark 3030 Park in Bridgeport $1,440 on July 8 in connection with a Feb. 27 incident in which a resident did not receive prompt IV hydration, records show.
Lab results were completed for the resident on Feb. 27, but there was a one-day delay in faxing them to the resident's doctor, records show. The doctor told investigators that he or she would have started IV hydration sooner if the records had been sent when they were first available, records show.
After the incident, the home immediately tightened up its policies and submitted a plan that was approved by DPH, said Mary Beth Farrell, director of risk and the chief compliance officer for Watermark Retirement Communities.
"As always, we strive to provide resident care in the safest possible environment while maintaining an atmosphere conducive to health and healing,'' she said.
On Aug. 6, Laurel Ridge Health Center of Ridgefield was fined $1,160 in connection with a June 30 incident in which a resident sustained two broken leg bones, DPH found.
The quadriplegic resident was moved by a nursing assistant without the use of a lift, and during the transfer, the aides gently lowered the person to the floor, DPH records show. On July 1, when the resident complained of leg pain, he or she was X-rayed and found to have broken two bones, DPH records show.
Transferring the resident without the use of a lift violated a doctor's orders, DPH found.
Laurel Ridge officials did not return a call seeking comment.
Paradigm Healthcare Center of New Haven was fined $1,160 on Feb. 26 in connection with two 2013 incidents in which residents fell at the home.
On April 28, 2013, a resident fell out of bed and hit his or her head on the floor and sustained a cut on the head, records show. An aide reported taking bolsters and side rails off the bed – in violation of the resident's plan of care – briefly while preparing to put the resident in a lift, records show. DPH records show the aide was disciplined for not following the plan of care.
On Nov. 26, 2013, a resident fell three to five feet to the floor when the straps on a lift broke while the two nursing aides were transferring the person into a bed, records show. The resident was hospitalized and found to have broken a bone in the back, records show.
The director of nursing investigated the incident but could not determine whether the correct sized pad was used during the transfer, records show.
Another nursing home owned by the same company, Paradigm Healthcare Center of South Windsor, was fined $1,020 by DPH on Aug. 4 in connection with a Jan. 15 incident in which a resident was cut on the head.
The resident was cut when his or her head was struck by a bar on a mechanical lift while two nursing assistants were moving the person from a bed to the wheelchair, records show. The home's investigation could not determine how the incident happened, but it did find that the staff members did not have control over the bar on the lift when it hit the resident, DPH records show.
Paradigm officials could not be reached for comment.
On July 29, DPH fined The Mary Wade Home of New Haven $1,020 in connection with a blind resident who suffered a cut and a broken tooth during a fall from a wheelchair, records show.
On Dec. 27, 2013, the resident fell forward out of the chair, was hospitalized and eventually sent to in-home hospice care, records show. An investigation determined that the nursing staff tried out a new wheelchair for the person that did not have a lap belt, without the knowledge of the home's occupational therapist, records show. The policy at the home stated that the rehabilitation staff, not the nursing staff, is to oversee the trials of any new wheelchair, records show.
The home is committed to providing high-quality care, CEO David V. Hunter said.
"This isolated incident has created an internal review of our processes and we will continue to look for ways to improve the care we provide to all our residents," he said.
On Aug. 5, Apple Rehabilitation of Watertown was fined $1,090 in connection with an incident in which a resident cut his or her leg while being transferred from a toilet to a wheelchair, records show.
On Feb. 27, the resident received the cut, which required five stitches to close, when one aide, instead of the required two, transferred the person and he or she struck a leg on the wheelchair, records show. An investigation found that two nursing assistant should have moved the resident and that they should have used a "gait belt" while doing so, records show.
In response to the incident, the nursing staff was educated on following the plan of care when transferring residents and the use of a gait belt when transferring or ambulating residents, said Ann Collette, an Apple Rehab spokeswoman.
St. Joseph's Living Center of Windham was fined $1,090 on Aug. 12 in connection with two incidents in which residents were mistreated, DPH records show.
In the first case on Jan. 3, a nursing assistant washed a resident using cold water, and when the resident asked the assistant to stop, he or she continued, causing the resident emotional distress, records show. The assistant said he or she stopped and apologized, but DPH said the home's policy stated that mistreatment of residents can include the denial of any reasonable request and ignoring residents while giving care.
The second incident occurred on March 13 when one assistant overhead another mumbling a derogatory term in a resident's ear while putting a resident back in bed, DPH found. An investigation by the home could not substantiate the allegation, but the nursing assistant was fired for past poor performance on the job, DPH records show.
The home's administrator, Lynn Iverson, said it conducts ongoing training of its staff in how to prevent abuse, and she has met with residents so they know the home's procedures.
"We certainly take the Department of Public Health's findings seriously, and we have reviewed our procedures" since the "unfortunate" incidents happened, she said.
On Jan. 15, Alexandria Manor in Bloomfield was fined $1,020 for a March 24, 2013 incident in which a nursing assistant yelled at a resident. The resident complained that the incident was scary, records show, and the aide was fired.
The home's administrator could not be reached for comment.
This story was reported under a partnership with the Connecticut Health I-Team (www.c-hit.org).