The Connecticut state Department of Public Health recently conducted a substantial crackdown on several nursing homes for the terrible negligence and abuse perpetrated upon their residents. Each nursing home’s cases are unrelated, but the sanctions have all been announced together. Six nursing home facilities have been fined by the state agency for a variety of different incidents that adversely impacted the health and well-being of their residents.
These incidents arise out of a variety of maltreatment and negligence. This includes mistakenly giving a patient morphine, having a patient suffer burns from a hot towel, and another patient developing a scab on their foot after having a toe amputated. As if this could not be outdone, another patient jumped out of a window and suffered a fracture to their spine. And while the focus tends to constantly be on the physical abuse or negligence that results in physical injuries or physical ailments, many often forget the toll that verbal abuse can have on patients. Such verbal abuse, as well as the negligence and failure to monitor patients, is particularly troublesome where a particular patient has a mental disorder such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The Instances of Abuse & Neglect
As reported, the Laurel Woods Health Care Center located in East Haven, Connecticut was slapped with a $1,230 fine, as the patient with the scabbed foot post-toe amputation, and the patient with the burns, both resided at that facility. Notably, the resident with scabbing was allegedly not properly cared for as one should be after an amputation on the foot. And the resident who suffered the burns was being helped by a nurse who failed to follow rules in how to properly apply the hot towel that burned the patient (that nurse was suspended and placed on 3 months’ probation while the staff was re-trained in the proper protocol).
The Abbot Terrace Health Center located in Waterbury, where its patient suffered a fractured spine after jumping from a window, was hit with a $1,300 fine. This apparently stemmed from the mind-numbing pain the patient already suffered from, but it was unclear whether that patient’s condition was properly evaluated, and the facility apparently did not have the sufficient painkillers for the patient. To make matters worse, the facility did not properly report that the resident had originally threatened to jump out of the window, only to find that he eventually made good on that threat. New Milford’s Village Crest Center also took a $1,300 hit after an aide, in response to a disturbed patient, threw the patient into a toilet paper dispenser, and this incident was not reported for days.
Also at the same facility an aide verbally abused a patient, and morphine and another painkiller were improperly given to the wrong patient. The Aurora home was fined $1,680 because a patient developed sores after improper care, and another $970 after a patient with dementia simply wandered away from the building. At Maefair Health Center a patient suffered a substantial leg cut needing over a dozen stitches due to negligent moving of the patient into their bed, and the facility was fined $1,300 as well. The sixth home, Watrous Nursing Center, had to pay $220 after a nurse’s aide sent a patient crashing into a wall after kicking their wheelchair, and subsequently lied about it.
The above is not meant to be an exhaustive laundry list of abuses and neglect, nor an attack on the above nursing homes. Rather, it is a clear example of the disturbing variety of abuses that can go on. While the fines may not be crippling to these facilities, hopefully they are enough to send a message.
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