State officials have fined two nursing homes in Orange County, California, for providing care so inadequate to two residents that it led to their deaths. In one case, a woman died from dehydration. In the other, staff failed to provide CPR to a man suffering a heart attack because they mistakenly believed he was under orders not to be resuscitated. In the first case, Alamitos West Health Care Center in Los Alamitos was fined $100,000. State officials levied an $80,000 fine on the Huntington Valley Healthcare Center in Huntington Beach in the other one.
At Alamitos West, the California Department of Public Health found that the nursing home failed to give an 82-year-old woman sufficient fluids, causing her to suffer dehydration and acute kidney failure. On December 19th, the woman’s condition had deteriorated so much that she was transferred to a hospital. Upon admission, she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, dehydration and an “altered mental status.” That resident died six days later, on Christmas Day.
The woman had been admitted to the nursing home in late November. A doctor ordered that the patient’s fluid intake and urine output be monitored during every shift. But a registered dietitian at the nursing home could not prove to state officials that nurses had made sure that the resident was drinking enough fluids every day. In some cases, review of her intake and output of fluids was blank or illegible.
At Huntington Valley Healthcare Center, the nursing home’s administrator told state officials that on March 2nd a registered nurse supervisor failed to call 911 as a patient was dying “because she thought the resident had orders” not to be resuscitated. In fact, the patient’s medical record included an advance directive form from a family member on which was marked the option, “I DO WANT CPR” in an emergency situation. Nursing personnel who were present at the time of the resident’s death were no longer employed by the time state officials investigated.
In the second case, according to state officials, a licensed vocational nurse called to inform a family member that the resident had died. The nurse reportedly told the family member that the resident was dead and that paramedics were not called because the facility had orders not to resuscitate him. The family member told the nurse to hang up and call 911. By the time paramedics arrived, they found the resident in bed with no heartbeat. He was covered with a sheet with no signs that CPR had been initiated. This was a tragic occurrence that ended horribly.
Source: Los Angels Times
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