St. James Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center experienced 25 deaths from Covid-19 as of May 31, 2020, per state records. The nursing home also received 23 citations for violations of public health code between 2016 and 2020, according to health records accessed on June 1, 2020. The St. James nursing home’s citations resulted from a total of three surveys by state inspectors. The violations they describe include the following:
1. The nursing home did not employ adequate measures to prevent infection. Section 483.80 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing homes must create and maintain “an infection prevention and control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment and to help prevent the development and transmission of communicable diseases and infections.” A May 2018 citation found that St. James Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center did not ensure such for one resident. The citation states specifically that the suction tubing tip connected to the resident’s suction machine was observed lying on the floor of their room, which had “multiple dried blackish stains.” In an interview, the facility’s Registered Nurse Charge Nurse said that the tubing “should not be touching the floor.” A plan of correction undertaken by the facility included the removal and discarding of the resident’s suction catheter.
2. The nursing home did not prevent the use of unnecessary psychotropic drugs. Section 483.45 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing home ensure residents are not administered psychotropic medications unless they are necessary to treat a specific condition, and that residents who use psychotropic drugs receive gradual dose reductions and behavioral interventions whenever possible. A May 2018 citation found that St. James Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center did not ensure that residents who received medication for a redacted condition had documented evaluations before they received prescriptions for an antipsychotic medication. The citation goes on to state that the facility did not ensure the attempt of non-pharmacological interventions for those residents, nor that “the lowest dose of an Antipsychotic medication is used to treat a medical condition.” The citation describes this deficiency has having the potential to cause “more than minimal harm.”
3. The nursing home did not ensure the maintenance of nutrition standards. Section 483.32 of the Federal Code stipulates that nursing homes must ensure residents maintain “acceptable parameters of nutritional status, such as usual body weight or desirable body weight range and electrolyte balance,” unless there clinical conditions render such impossible. A January 2017 citation found that St. James Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center did not ensure the timely review of two residents’ nutritional statuses. The citation states specifically that one resident was “observed without dentures, and had an unplanned significant weight loss” for which there was no documented evidence of an investigation, and of which the facility’s dietitian was not timely notified. The citation also describes a second resident who was not assessed by the facility’s dietitian after developing a pressure sore; the dietitian was “not aware the resident was not consuming all of an ordered supplement,” according to the citation.
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.