Nursing Home Cited After COVID-19 Observation

A COVID-19 survey was conducted at Apollo Health and Rehabilitation. Following the observation, the facility was cited for failing to maintain a “prevention and control program related to not properly maintaining and implementing best practices for COVID-19.”

The investigator listed the following reasons for the citation:

  • a screening device used for staff and persons from outside services was not cleaned
  • staff didn’t use appropriate hygiene after leaving a resident care area
  • staff did not follow posted droplet precautions by not donning required personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • not providing dedicated resident equipment on droplet precautions and not cleaning a reusable device

Upon entering the facility, the survey team observed a staff member standing at the entrance with hand sanitizer. She picked up a touchless thermometer that lay on top of a white foam tray. After taking everyone’s temperatures, the staff member placed the thermometer back onto the receptionist desktop without cleaning the equipment.

The survey team then completed their questioning process, asking the staff member if she was the designated person to perform the screening before people enter the nursing home. She indicated she was the Transportation Coordinator and was only filling in until the receptionist arrived.

Shortly after the surveyors spoke with the Transportation Coordinator, an outside vendor entered the facility. He was wearing cloth utility gloves on both hands, which he covered with purple gloves while waiting for the staff member to do a screening. Just before taking his temperature, the staff member answered a nearby phone. She placed the thermometer on the table and did not clean the equipment or desktop.

At this time, the surveyors noted a nurse standing outside the front entrance. Her uniform indicated she was from a hospice agency. The Transportation Coordinator placed the phone on top of the receptionist’s desk and opened the door for the hospice nurse with her ungloved hand. She then performed the same screening process with the hospice nurse. After taking her temperature, the staff member put on a pair of gloves and removed a bleach wipe from a container. She cleaned two different thermometers with the same wipe for “a total of 12 seconds.”

The surveyors reviewed the instructions for the bleach wipes. According to the container, “cleaning is to include vigorous wiping and/or scrubbing… special attention is needed for high-touch surfaces. Do not reuse soiled clothes. Allow surfaces to remain wet for 1 minute, let air dry.”

The Regional Nurse was asked about the manufacturer’s contact time for the bleach wipes that the facility uses during the screening process. She indicated that the facility didn’t have anyone with COVID-19, so “wet time did not need to be used.” The RN was then informed that the one-minute contact was “not being observed for viruses during the screening process upon entry to the facility.” According to the citation, the RN did not respond.

During another observation, the surveyors observed a resident’s room with the door closed. The door had an isolation caddy holding personal protective equipment (PPE) and a sign indicating droplet precautions. The citation lists the following events:

Just then the door was opened and a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) exited the room holding two clear colored bags… She was asked as she entered the hallway where her [face] shield was. She stated, “I was wearing one.” She was asked where her [face] shield was again. She did not respond as she walked down the hallway.

Though it is always important for nursing home facilities to closely follow prevention and control programs to prevent the spread of disease, it is even more important during a national health crisis like COVID-19. This ensures loved ones in nursing home facilities are kept as safe as possible.

If you suspect nursing home abuse, we will provide a free, confidential case evaluation with no obligation to hire us. We treat our clients with compassion and aggressively represent their rights, making nursing homes take responsibility for the abuse. Distasio Law Firm has the expertise and ability to advocate for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, even if a case goes to trial.

COVID-19 Update

During this difficult time of quarantine, self-isolation, and social distancing throughout Florida and the nation, we want you to know that there are ways to check on any loved ones in a nursing home facility. While you likely won’t be able to visit in person, below are a few tips for checking on your loved one to make sure they are getting the care they need.

  • Call every day. Set a time to catch up with your loved one, even if it’s just a five-minute call. If your loved one is tech-savvy and uses FaceTime, check-in that way! Just one call can help ensure your loved one is still getting the care you expect from the nursing home.
  • Call after each shift. Find out when each shift starts and ends, and talk to the nurses after each shift to check on the consistency and quality of your loved one’s care.
  • Find out what you can or can’t do. During this time, most nursing homes won’t permit you to enter the nursing home facility in order to protect you and your loved ones. Some, however, let families enter when the loved one is on hospice. Be sure to clarify the rules with the facility so you can plan for any situation.

Our main office is here in Downtown Tampa, Florida in the Channelside neighborhood. Office in Wesley Chapel and Largo are available by appointment only.

Distasio Law Firm