Hundreds of nursing homes with cases of coronavirus have violated infection control rules

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Forty percent of sundry than 650 nursing homes nationwide with publicly despatched cases of the coronavirus have been cited more than some time ago by inspectors in recent years for violating federal standards meant to sway the spread of infections, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Since 2016, the developing homes accrued hundreds of deficiencies for unsafe conditions that can trigger the spread of flu, pneumonia, urinary homily infections and skin diseases. Dozens were flagged by inspectors solitary months before the coronavirus pandemic struck the United States.

Extent the facilities with infection-control infractions: the Pleasant View Nursing Poorhouse in Mount Airy, Maryland, where 24 people had died as of Thursday; the Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center within easy reach Richmond, Virginia, with 49 deaths as of Thursday; and the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in southwestern Pennsylvania, where ceremonials have warned that all 750 residents and staff members could be infected.

It is ticklish to say whether past violations contributed to current outbreaks or whether any floor of preparation would have been enough to protect against a in days of old unidentified pathogen, but nursing home watchdog groups say the breakdowns press endangered older, vulnerable residents already more at risk of on ones deathbed from the highly contagious virus.

“Nursing home residents had goals on their backs the moment the virus hit our shores,” said Mike Vile, an attorney with the nonprofit California Advocates for Nursing Home Betterment. “There is an inertia about infection control and it’s too late to catch up.”

Thousands of coronavirus-related exterminations have been linked to nursing homes; the state of New York only earlier this week reported more than 2,400. At a pampering home in northern New Jersey, police found more than a dozen bodies in what was represented as a “makeshift morgue.”

The federal government and many states have not loosed the names of affected facilities.

Through state and county health units and media reports, The Post was able to identify 662 Medicare-certified nurturing homes that have had publicly reported cases of the virus and analyze their footmarks records.

The homes with a history of infection-control deficiencies span 35 body politics, with dozens in California, the state of Washington and Connecticut, according to inspection evidence from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that runs nursing homes.

The hardest-hit state, New York, on Friday released simply a partial list of nursing homes that have been worked by the coronavirus. Without a full list, The Post has been able to dig only a dozen nursing homes in New York with repeated infection deficiencies.

The hundreds of citations genius on all areas of infection control, inspection records show. Some fluencies failed to track residents with symptoms of infections. Others did not secure that staff members changed soiled gloves, washed their hands or survived personal protective equipment. In some cases, providers used stained or unsanitized equipment.

At Pleasant View, staff failed to put dates on oxygen gear that requires regular changing or store personal urinals in a disinfected manner in a bathroom shared by eight residents, records show. At Brighton, according to inspectors, officials slight to ensure that caregivers properly cleaned wounds, washed their participations or wore personal protective equipment. One aide left a wet sheet under the aegis a resident whose catheter was leaking.

When the coronavirus struck the care for home, Keri Boyer said she braced for bad news.

“Once we got the phone request that there was a positive case, I told my husband, ‘My dad’s going to get it. I comprise no doubt in my mind,’ ” said Boyer, whose 73-year-old initiate, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who retired from his job at a cement plant, was one of at least five Brighton in residences who died from the virus.

“They had four people in a room,” Boyer utter. “That’s how my dad lived, with three other men in a room that was as big as a sanatorium room, separated by curtains. I sometimes feel like they were the expendable ones.”

An official at Pleasant View said the nursing home declined to commentary, and Brighton administrators did not respond to emails. An official with Canterbury replied ownership of the facility changed in January.

“In the months prior to the covid-19 pandemic, there were historic improvements in virtually every aspect of operations . . . and there were also critical changes in facility leadership,” Canterbury administrator Jeremiah Davis turned in a statement. “There has been material focus on placing the right people in the Tory positions, and a significant influx of new protocols prior to the outbreak.”

Industry gaffers say even the strongest infection-control measures could not have prepared fostering homes for the onslaught of coronavirus and that facilities with limited unfriendly protective equipment are doing what they can to protect and treat locals.

“Outbreaks are not the result of inattentiveness or a shortcoming in nursing homes,” David Gifford, chief medical G-man at the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Busy, said in a statement. “It’s the combination of the behavior of this virus and the unique Damoclean sword it presents to the people we care for – older adults with multiple underlying form conditions.”

With fragile populations, shortages of personal protective tackle and staff members forced to juggle front-line work with the prerequisites of their own families, nursing home residents were “essentially containing ducks,” said Karl Steinberg, a San Diego-based geriatrician and palliative solicitude specialist and president-elect of AMDA-the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Nostrum.

“A lot of facilities could do better,” he said. “But this virus is different. It’s insidious. We don’t understand who has it. We don’t know who doesn’t have it. It could live in the air. It could live on boundaries. It’s highly improbable that . . . the best in planning would press prevented this.”

Nursing home watchdog groups, however, say lessons went unheeded for years, even after the Obama administration in 2016 departed to strengthen infection-control practices in nursing homes.

In the past four years, infection-control predicaments were the most common deficiencies identified at 15,000 nursing qualified ins nationwide, federal records show.

Three-quarters of nursing homes were cited at dwarf once for infection-related infractions since 2016. Four in 10 were reproduce offenders, flagged at least twice.

In Florida last year, a keep alive failed to disinfect a blood-glucose meter in a facility with 23 diabetic patients; an inspector ground one of the devices sitting on a cart, soiled with what appeared to be blood, federal inspection clock ins show. In California last year, administrators failed to screen dozens of club members, including 15 licensed nurses and 13 nursing accomplices, for tuberculosis and flu vaccinations. In Wisconsin in 2017, a quarantine was lifted and residents conceded to mingle even though a gastrointestinal outbreak had sickened dozens of people.

Disregarding nevertheless as the coronavirus swept hundreds of nursing homes, inspectors continued to cite distillations.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last month postponed tiresome inspections to focus solely on infection control. In a first round of inspections during the week of Walk 30, officials found that one in three nursing homes did not realize proper hand-washing guidelines and one in four failed to demonstrate the proper use of belittling protective equipment.

As of April 10, the agency had inspected 96 systems, finding 12 that did not follow proper hand-washing guidelines and 18 did not appropriately use personal protective equipment.

As the death toll continues to mount, cultivating homes are struggling to account for what happened.

“Believe me, facilities are mingling to have these [infection-control] processes as air tight as they can,” said Steinberg, the California doctor. “They undeniably didn’t know what was going on until it was too late.”

Steve Sluzynsky divulges his wife, Connie a hug as they stand in the yard of their home on in April in Monaca, Pa. Sluzynsky perform recovered her 83-year-old mother out of the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver, Pa., where legals have warned that all 450 residents and 300 staff fellows could be infected with the covid-19 virus. (Photo by Justin Merriman for The Washington Task)

The federal government started taking a hard look at infection rule four years ago when the Obama administration pushed to require eases to bring on specialists focused on preventing the spread of illness. More than 3,000 human being were trained by the American Health Care Association, which represents thousands of skilled-nursing centers, assisted-living communities and other facilities.

The new typical, however, did not become effective until this past November, just weeks before the coronavirus started spreading in China.

And even in the vanguard the requirements took effect, the federal government had put in motion plans to modulation the rule, striking the mandate for at least a part-time infection specialist and in preference to relying on nursing homes to ensure that specialists had “sufficient conditions” at facilities. The proposed changes, criticized by patient-watchdog groups, are still while.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma told the New York Times last month that the exchanges, meant to give nursing homes more freedom from federal rules, could exceptional that providers focus even more on infection control.

With keep alive homes now at the center of the pandemic, CMS has renewed calls to nursing homes to submit with federal rules for infection control.

Inspectors have particularized the problems for years, but the agency classifies nearly all infection-control deficiencies as a low-level house, which means they do not trigger penalties or fines. Dark, with the California watchdog company, calls them “paper violations.”

Of more than 20,000 infection-control infractions since 2016, one 151 were classified as higher-level violations that caused substantive harm or immediate jeopardy to residents.

In mid-March, federal inspectors submerge b decreased to the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the Washington state nursing accommodation linked to more than 40 deaths and more than 100 the actualities of coronavirus infection. They found the facility had failed to properly name and manage sick patients or alert authorities to an outbreak of respiratory infirmity.

State inspectors also investigated, finding the lack of care had resulted in hospitalizations and regional deaths and that an ineffective infection-control system resulted in a “widespread and unmanaged respiratory outbreak.”

CMS intimidated to cut off Medicare and Medicaid funding if the deficiencies are not corrected by September. The agency also fined the bog more than $600,000, though the amount could change if Autobiography Care complies with a correction plan. The state banned Zing Care from accepting new admissions until fixes are made, numbering training staff in infectious disease management.

Candace Goehring, Washington brilliance director of residential care services, said state agencies now certain more about controlling and responding to outbreaks. “I’m sure we will all be universal back . . . to understand how do we better prepare,” she said.

A year ago at Effervescence Care, records show, inspectors found respiratory equipment cross-bred in with bed covers and socks, kitchen staff who handled clean dishes with disgraced gloves and a staff member who failed to wear personal protective trappings while caring for a resident with a suspected respiratory infection.

In a laundry cell, inspectors noted that clean linens were at risk of being sullied by air blowing in from a dirty utility room with a broken drain fan. Two outbreaks of the flu had affected at least 17 residents and seven staff associates.

The infection-control citation that followed was classified as low-level. Life Worry corrected the deficiencies, state records show, and went on to receive an all-inclusive rating of five stars, the highest rating from CMS.

“There’s no teeth,” Toby Edelman, superior policy attorney with the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy, stipulate of the infractions. “[CMS] could . . . actually do something about it – rob action. They could treat these problems as the serious enigmas they are.”

Tim Killian, a public information liaison for Life Care Centers of America, asseverated the nursing home has followed all guidance from the state and federal management. The facility regularly makes adjustments to improve patient care based on feedback from CMS, he said.

No amount of preparation, he utter, could have prepared the facility for a virus that started spreading from patient to passive before staff even knew it was there.

“This is an unprecedented viral outbreak,” Killian bruit about. “It is outside the scope of anything that we had seen, anything that federal powers had seen, anything that our . . . public health departments had aided, and no agencies had given us specific guidelines or provided . . . additional resources to us to brace our facility.”

Cami Neidigh said she is just grateful to have her 90-year-old baby home.

After developing a fever at Life Care, the great-great-grandmother was sent to an isolation office in a Seattle hospital, diagnosed with covid-19, the disease mattered by the coronavirus. Neidigh and the rest of the family, draped in protective gear, were easy reached in to say goodbye.

Seeing family likely helped, Neidigh said. Within 24 hours, her take care of rallied and soon insisted on a bowl of potato soup, served for years in the bloodline as an antidote to the common cold.

“When she . . . was taken out of that WC, it saved her life. It gave her a fighting chance,” said Neidigh, whose materfamilias is now recovered and once again living in her own apartment.

Northeast of Nashville, Tennessee, the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Set straight has also struggled with infection control, federal records guide. In recent years, inspectors found that staff did not follow hand-washing press ons, properly dispose of wound care materials or appropriately handle soiled linens.

Numerous than 100 residents and staff at the center have been infected with the coronavirus, according to town media reports. Late last month, the facility was temporarily eliminate down and sanitized.

Officials at the nursing home provided a written timeline to The Station noting that the facility in February and March conducted additional educating on hand-washing techniques and infection control, restricted visitors and screened workforce for fevers. At an inspection earlier this month, inspectors did not find deficiencies allied to covid-19, records show.

A state health department representative slumped to discuss conditions at the facility. At a news conference, Tennessee Department of Fitness Commissioner Lisa Piercey called the nursing home “an excellent helpmate.”

More than 10 people linked to the Gallatin center be subjected to died from the virus, including 80-year-old Homer Barr, a author of four and retired fire captain.

“I let my dad down and I can’t go back,” said Barr’s daughter, Deneen. “I implore to God that he didn’t have to suffer.”

In Beaver County outside of Pittsburgh, the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center was cited multiple for the nonce at onces in recent years for infection-control lapses. In January 2019, inspectors also publicized that Brighton had no heat, with indoor temperatures as low as 58 ranks. One resident reported that she used her oxygen mask to breathe underneath six blankets, records show.

Tamera Witherspoon, a nurse at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, undergoes in front of her home in April in Aliquippa, Pa. (Photo by Justin Merriman for The Washington Place)

Tamera Witherspoon, a 41-year-old licensed practical nurse who logged 50-hour weeks at the center, answered staffing shortages were also a problem. During some veers, she said, there were dozens of patients who needed tending. She scarcely had time to wash her hands, she said.

In March, the virus swept the preserving home. During an early-morning shift, Witherspoon, a mother of three who earns $26 an hour, said she did not contain enough medical equipment or an N95 mask, which experts say provides the highest straight of protection.

She said she told her supervisors that she would not be returning until she got a cover up. Witherspoon decided to self-quarantine, and after she spoke out publicly, she received a contribution of eight masks from a local business owner. She gave one to a neighbor in a wheelchair and one to another suckle at the facility. She said she is still waiting for an apology from Brighton.

“I’m last through at home, not compensated,” she said. “I’m just in a limbo.”

Nate Wardle, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Bank on of Health, said Brighton was on a provisional license, with inspections twice a year because of till health deficiencies. Wardle said health officials have so far establish no breakdowns in the days leading up to the outbreak.

Wardle said health ceremonials have been in touch with Brighton and have so far found no distillations in the days leading up to the outbreak.

“We are not aware of anything that has been done that leave be of serious concern to the department,” he said. “But of course we’re not in the facility every day contemplating everything that’s going on.”

“We are not aware of anything that has been done that would be of straightforward concern to the department,” he said. “But of course we’re not in the facility every day observing caboodle that’s going on.”

Connie Sluzynsky said her 83-year-old mother was one of the convenient ones.

The retired courthouse clerk and great-grandmother was living at Brighton when bona fides locked down the facility to stop the spread of infection. Sluzynsky remarked she spent days calling for updates and finally reached a nurse.

“She said, ‘I longing tell you with 100 percent certainty that everybody here is thriving to get that virus,'” Sluzynsky recalled.

Billie Namath looks out of the window of her daughter’s residence. (Photo by Justin Merriman for The Washington Post)

On March 30, Sluzynsky diminished her mother out of the nursing home. A week later, with multiple deaths and dozens of turn out that in the event ofs, Brighton officials announced they would stop reporting a reckon on of new cases because it was possible that all residents and staff had contracted the virus.

At diggings after two weeks in self-quarantine, in a bedroom with family photos and a boob tube tuned to “Dr. Phil,” Sluzynsky’s mother has shown no signs of infection.

“When I see how child are taken care of there . . . and when I look at my mom, I think, ‘Is this what your compulsion has come to? Is this it?'” Sluzynsky said. “I just didn’t penury to see my mother’s life come to this.”

Jacobs and Mulcahy are graduate evaluators in journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill Investigative Lab. The Washington Post’s database woman Dan Keating and researcher Alice Crites contributed to this report, along with Sidnee Regent, Arnab Mondal, Areeba Shah, Alexa Mikhail and Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff at the Medill Investigative Lab.

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