The Department of Health cited The Osborne, a Westchester nursing home located in Rye, for multiple violations after a December, 2012 inspection. Specifically, the home failed to maintain a resident’s nutritional status and failed to develop and revise timely and proper care plans.
According to federal regulations, a nursing home must ensure that a resident maintains his or her nutritional status unless the resident’s condition renders this impossible. Also, if there is a nutritional problem with the resident, the facility must develop a therapeutic diet for the individual to mitigate these issues. The resident in question was a seventy-nine year old man who received care at The Osborne intermittently over the course of a month in September/October of 2012. Upon his first weighing by the staff, the man weighed 199 pounds. At his final weighing, only three and a half weeks later, the man’s weight had dropped to 178 pounds–a loss of 21 pounds in 24 days. When interviewed, the resident’s dietician admitted that, although she was aware of the man’s weight loss throughout his stay at the Osborne, she did not investigate the reasons behind it.
This resident is also the subject of one of the home’s deficiencies with respect to care plans. the Department of Health found that the care plan sought to maintain the resident’s weight within three pounds. When the weight loss began, however, the staff did not revise the care plan to show the weight loss, nor did the staff institute interventions to quell further weight loss. This resulted in the aforementioned twenty-one pound weight loss over the course of less than one month.
Maintaining nutritional status in an elderly or infirm nursing home resident is an essential duty for the home and its staff. Weight loss can lead to increased frailty, pressure sores, infection, and decreased mental capacity. It is true that in some cases, weight loss is unavoidable for elderly residents. The lack of a care plan to document and potentially mitigate this weight loss is unacceptable. Coupled with the statements of the dietician, these two factors could certainly lead someone to believe that the facility did not do everything within its power to maintain this resident’s nutritional status.
The Department of Health report on The Osborne can be found on the DOH website here.