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Four Nursing Homes Fined

Conn. Health I-Team Writer

The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has cited and fined four Connecticut nursing homes for various lapses of care.

Bridgeport Manor was fined $1,940 for two instances earlier this year. In a Jan. 14 incident, a nurse aide found a resident slumped in a wheelchair with the wheelchair safety belt around the neck. According to the citation, the resident's head and neck were on the seat of the wheelchair, the wheelchair's seatbelt was choking the resident and the resident's lips were turning blue.

The resident was examined at a hospital and returned to the facility the same day, DPH said. An investigation found that several staff had previously reported the wheelchair's seatbelt was loose, but maintenance workers said it was fine. Staff subsequently noticed the seatbelt wasn't working properly but failed to report it, according to the citation.

In a separate case, on Jan. 19, a resident on a diet of pureed food choked on a piece of pizza, turned blue and became unresponsive. Staff performed abdominal thrusts and administered oxygen before the resident was transported to a hospital.

An investigation found the resident, who had Parkinson's disease and gastroesophageal reflux, took a piece of pizza from another resident's plate during a recreation program, DPH said.

Officials at the facility did not return a call seeking comment.

Beechwood in New London was fined $1,840 for two incidents that occurred in December 2016. In one case, a resident with dementia left the facility in a wheelchair around 5 a.m. on Dec. 9. Staff found the resident about 10 minutes later at a home across the street, the citation said.

The resident had been agitated the previous night, was witnessed packing clothes and tried to leave, DPH said. An investigation determined that nurse aides should have reported to the charge nurse that they saw the resident packing clothes. All staff received training on residents who are elopement risks.

In a separate incident on Dec. 6, a resident was mistakenly given a medication that caused an allergic reaction. The resident, who had end-stage renal disease and other diagnoses, was given Coumadin, a blood thinner, despite documentation noting an allergy to the medication, according to DPH. The resident became lethargic and was slurring words. The resident was taken to a hospital and discharged back to the facility the following day. Investigators found a Beechwood staff nurse accidentally gave another resident's medication to the resident.

Beechwood Executive Director Katie Lasewicz declined to comment.

Masonicare Health Center in Wallingford was fined $1,635 for a Feb. 2, 2016, incident in which a resident's catheter tube became dislodged while staff transported the resident to the bathroom. After the catheter became dislodged, a new one was inserted at a hospital but pieces of the old one remained in the resident, who suffered from bladder inflammation. The resident was scheduled for surgery to remove the remaining pieces, the citation said.

Margaret Steeves, Masonicare spokesperson, said the resident's medical needs were met efficiently, but the incident was not reported to nursing managers in a timely manner. Staff was reminded about the importance of reporting incidents right away, she said.

"The health and safety of our patients is our top priority," she said.

Regalcare at Prospect was fined $1,000 after a nurse aide cashed checks belonging to a resident totaling $2,245 without the resident's knowledge. The resident, who suffered from alcohol abuse and epilepsy, was at the facility from May 22, 2015, to Nov. 16, 2016, and was instructed to keep valuables in a locked drawer, though the resident told staff it wasn't important to do so, the citation said.

Between Feb. 8 and Nov. 24, 2016, the nurse aide cashed 16 checks. The resident pressed charges against the aide who was suspended from the facility in November 2016, according to DPH. After failing to keep an appointment at the facility to provide a statement, the aide was fired Dec. 2, 2016. Officials at the facility did not return a call seeking comment.

This story was reported under a partnership with the Connecticut Health I-Team (www.c-hit.org).

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