Southern Pines Healthcare Center cited for “Infection Control Issues”

Southern Pines Healthcare Center was cited after an investigator found that the facility “failed to perform hand hygiene during the task of medication administration… and failed to ensure the indwelling catheter tubing and bag were appropriately maintained.”

The investigator of this citation visited the facility in order to verify the nursing home was following protocols to keep residents safe and healthy. The investigator observed a Registered Nurse (RN) during the administration of medications. The RN put the medications for a resident on a cart, entered the resident’s room, and handed the medication cup to the resident. She then donned her gloves (without washing her hands) and administered nasal spray. After the medication and nasal spray were given, the staff member placed the cup back on the bottle, returned to the medication cart, and documented the administration of medication.

After answering a phone call in the hallway, the RN traveled to two other residents’ rooms to deliver medicine. One of these residents asked for eye-drops after the medication was administered. The RN returned to her cart, retrieved the eye drops, and put on gloves. After putting eye drops into the resident’s eyes, she returned to the cart. According to the investigator of the citation, “the RN did not perform hand hygiene before dispensing medications or prior to applying gloves for the administration of eye drops. The staff member pulled down the lid of the resident’s right eye and administered one drop of Artificial Tears, then without removing gloves or performing hand hygiene and re-applying gloves…pulled the lid of the left eye down and administered one drop.”

According to the facility’s “Standard Precautions” policy, staff members must wash their hands during the following scenarios:

  • Before and after contact with resident
  • After removing gloves
  • Before and after contact in a resident’s room

The investigator noted the policy “revealed gloves are to be changed as necessary during the care of a resident to prevent cross-contamination from one body site to another… after gloves are removed, hands are to be washed immediately to avoid transfer of microorganisms to the other residents or environments.”

This citation also notes another instance of an “infection control issue.” This occurred when a male resident’s catheter bag was seen dragging across the floor in multiple areas of the nursing home. The resident was observed to be sitting in a wheelchair on the smoking patio. His indwelling catheter was inside a privacy bag, but it was dragging across the floor as he rolled himself around the facility’s premises. The resident was asked if he’d asked any of the staff for help with attaching the bag to his wheelchair. He stated a CNA had helped him attach the bag, but he wasn’t aware that it had come loose and was dragging across the ground.

An interview was conducted with the Director of Nursing (DON) regarding these instances. The DON was informed of all the times where the resident’s catheter bag was dragging on the ground while he self-propelled his wheelchair. The DON confirmed the catheter tubing was on the dining room floor and that it was “an infection control issue… that needed to be addressed immediately.” The DON stated, “I will get the CNA to empty the catheter, and of course you can’t have the catheter privacy bag dragging on the floor at any time.”

The investigator of this citation did a random follow-up to ensure the facility was taking care of their infection control issues. The male resident with the catheter was observed sitting on the smoking patio again, his catheter tube located on the ground next to him. The investigator took photographic evidence and then spoke with the resident. When asked if a staff member had reattached his catheter bag he stated, “yes, they fixed it.”

An immediate follow-up interview was conducted with the DON. She was shown the photographic evidence of the resident’s catheter bag, which was still dragging on the ground. The DON said she would “take care of it.”

When families place loved ones in nursing homes, they expect staff members and administration to follow safety protocols, especially those concerning appropriate hygiene. This is to ensure that no cross-contamination occurs between residents. It is imperative nursing home facilities maintain clean environments so families are confident their loved ones have the best chance of staying healthy and happy.

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 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.

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Distasio Law Firm