Connecticut Nursing Homes Fined For Patient Death, Failure To Administer Drugs

Five nursing homes have been cited and fined by the Department of Public Health for patient care lapses, including an incident at Aurora Senior Living of Cromwell in which a resident with eating problems died after being given marshmallows.

According to the DPH, the resident was diagnosed with mental retardation, dementia, schizophrenia, diabetes and dysphagia and “required extensive assistance while eating’’ and “direct supervision during meals.’’  A visitor was given permission by a licensed practical nurse to give the resident two regular-sized marshmallows to eat.  The patient became unresponsive, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was initiated.

The resident was transported to the hospital and died two days later.  The DPH citation notes that the nurse was not familiar with the diet restrictions for the patient.  The facility’s vice president of clinical services said “the expectation would be that the nurse would always refer to the physician’s orders in the clinical record.’’  The nurse was fired for failing to follow the doctor’s orders or the care plan, according to the citation. The facility was fined $650.

The Apple Rehabilitation West Haven was cited after the state found that 15 patients who were being treated for various illnesses, including congestive heart failure, hypertension, depression, dementia, gastro-esophageal reflux disease and multiple sclerosis were not being given the correct daily dosage of medications.

Eleven of the residents did not receive the proper drug dosage for a year, according to the citation, which followed a February inspection.  In fining the facility $600, the state found that while each resident did not receive medication as prescribed, ‘’there were no identified adverse outcomes.”

The same company was also cited for it’s East Haven facility which was fined $510 when a patient was injured during a transfer in the bathroom.  A doctor’s order indicated that the patient should be assisted by two people, not one.

Other action by the state includes:

• The Masonic Health Center of Wallingford was fined $815 after a state inspection found that two residents were injured while being transported in wheelchairs, and two other residents suffered sudden weight losses.  According to the citation, a nurse’s aide used a wheelchair without footrests to transport a patient who was identified as needing assistance in moving. The patient suffered an ankle injury when his or her foot was caught under the wheelchair.  The center’s director of nursing indicated that the nurse’s aide should have applied footrests to the chair before moving the patient. In the second incident, a patient fell out of a wheelchair and was injured while being transported down a hallway by a nurse’s aide.The inspection also found that one resident had lost 17 pounds in 10 days, and a second patient lost 7 pounds in about a month.

• New London Rehabilitation And Care of Waterford was fined $510 after a resident was injured while being moved with a Hoyer lift. In addition, the state cited the facility for not properly monitoring the patient’s injury.


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3 Comments on "Connecticut Nursing Homes Fined For Patient Death, Failure To Administer Drugs"

  1. Barbara Coppola | May 1, 2012 at 8:38 am |

    I think these fines are so minimal that they would have no adverse effect on the nursing home directors who are ultimately responsible for overseeing the home. My mother was a terrible example of poor nursing home care when she fell after trying to sit on a chair which had wheels on it in the dining room, which never should have been there and there was little or no supervision and this was an Alzheimer’s unit…needless to say she never recovered from a broken hip and extensive trauma and ultimately passed away. Neither the nursing home or the individual in charge would admit wrong in the incident and there was no recourse to inform other families of what had happened so they would be able to rate that home when looking for a safe place for their family member. There needs to be a sight to be able to decide how many and what types of violations these nursing homes have. Perhaps there is but I am unaware and would be glad to have it posted.

  2. I agree with Barbara the fines are too small for a business that takes in millions of senior dollars.
    The State needs to raise the penalties for mistreating the elderly population in nursing homes.

  3. Connecticut ranks 33rd in the nation for Nursing Home staffing. (Center for Medicare Services data – look it up! ) Staff are frequently so busy they do not know what they are doing. The state charges 400.00 for using a cell phone while driving…a thousand dollar fine for animal neglect, and a trip to court. It appears however, that nursing home oversight is largely a secret of which the public is ignorant and officials are not vying to let them in on the rationales for enforcement. If police protected our neighborhoods this way, we’d see a written warning and a traffic ticket for burglaries, muggings, and perhaps even murder. As a victim of crime they’d send you a letter saying you “might” be contacted by them, and maybe you’ll get another letter from them in 6 to 8 months. You might find that the offense you suffered was not viewed as “statistically significant,” and the patrol car only comes around to your neighborhood once per year. Our elderly are in programs supervised by the state – who is protecting them from needless suffering?

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