Monday, December 4, 2017
Abuse Cited in Nashville Alzheimer's Unit
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Two incidents of patient on patient abuse in a secured Alzheimer's unit, have prompted state health officials to order a freeze on new admissions and impose a $5,000 fine on a Nashville, Tenn. nursing home.
The freeze was ordered Monday by state Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner for the Greenhills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a 150-bed facility. He cited conditions that "are or are likely to be detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the patients."
In both October incidents patients were injured by other patients prompting the state to cite nursing home officials for failure to prevent neglect and failure to protect, prevent, report and investigate allegations of abuse.
"I almost died last night," one of the victim's stated the day after suffering bruises to her arm and face at the hands of another patient.
Neither of the incidents were reported to the nursing home's abuse coordinator, as required under the nursing home's own policy, inspectors found.
A staffer questioned by a state inspector about the incident said, "I didn't see it as abuse. It's a secure unit with combative patients. This wasn't the first time."
In the second incident a resident in the unit grabbed a fire extinguisher and began spraying residents and staff. The patient also hit another patient.
In a 16-page inspection report inspectors cited an array of violations of state requirements ranging from the failure to provide adequate staff, to failure to train and retrain staffers in the handling of patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.
Records at the nursing home examined by inspectors showed only 54 of 239 staffers who worked at the facility had participated in staff development training to deal with "dysfunctional behavior and catastrophic reaction in residents" between Jan. 20, 2017 and October.
According to the report the nursing home utilized some half dozen private agencies to fill nursing slots. The contracts specifically stated that it was the nursing home's responsibility to provide staff training.
Deficiencies were also noted in training staffers in medication management.
Other deficiencies included the failure to fully evaluate patients before placing them in a secured unit and failure to prevent falls. The inspectors found that 19 residents had falls between June 20 and the October incidents.