Norwich – The state on Wednesday took the unusual step of ordering the closure of the troubled Three Rivers Healthcare nursing home, where 22 residents and six employees became infected with COVID-19.
The September 30 deadline could not be fixed by the temporary manager due to staff shortages, infection control and other safety issues.
State acting Didre Gifford of the Department of Public Health and several departments of public health staff, local legislator and Mayor Peter Nistrom, attended a news conference outside City Hall on Wednesday to facilitate the process of relocating residents from the 60 CHC facility . By the JACC Health Center of Norwich.
Since late July, Gifford said, 22 nursing home residents and six employees have been infected with COVID-19, and four residents of the home have died. Later during the news conference, state Sen. Kathy Osten stated that the likelihood of COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes is five.
Gifford signed an emergency order requiring emergency discharge of all residents on Three Rivers. “This is a difficult and tragic step we have to take, but the department concludes that the facility has the best interests of the health and safety of residents, employees and families,” she said.
Several, serious deficiencies were cited in the wake of the nursing home outbreak. The state assigned a nurse consultant, who “discovered significant additional and ongoing deficiencies,” Gifford said. This led to 10 appointments of temporary manager Kathryn Sachs, who has 20 years of experience in bringing some 30 “distressed” nursing homes into compliance.
Gifford said Sachs discovered “widespread problems” related to care delivery, inadequate infection control, lack of staff education, inadequate staffing, absence of management policies and ongoing management, staffing and financial control.
“Identifying issues endangered the health and safety of residents and employees at the facility significantly,” Gifford said.
Officials at the news conference said that the appointment of a temporary manager itself was rare, the last time it happened in 2006. And it was the first time one could recall that the state had ordered the closure of a nursing home for noncompliance with health and safety requirements. .
After just 30 hours of working on the site, Sachs said, she realized for the first time in her career that she had encountered a nursing home that could not be brought into compliance. He ordered three rivers to be closed.
Sacks said 17 Three Rivers residents currently have COVID-19 and seven others are under surveillance for possible COVID-19 infections. State officials said the remaining 29 residents who tested negative for COVID-19 will be relocated to other nursing home facilities in the Norwich area.
COVID-19 positive residents will be temporarily moved to the Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center in East Hartford until they recover. Once they are fully recovered, they will be given top priority to go to the nursing home of their choice. The state hopes to accommodate the top or second choices of residents who do not have the disease, Gifford said. When they first arrive in their new homes, they will have to live separately for some time.
Burrows said residents would be moved to “a systematic, slow set of discharges” with “no less than 10 people per day with separate transportation, and no people awaiting transportation. She hopes that COVID-19 residents and those under observation can be transferred by the end of this week.
“If we have a problem, we’re going to slow it down and correct it,” she said.
Families, residents considering options
Reached by phone about an hour before state officials’ news conference, Three Rivers Nursing Home resident Edward Pratt said residents were not told about the pending order to close the facility. As he stated, an announcement was made for an emergency staff meeting at the facility.
Pratt is recovering from COVID-19 and believes he was a resident who previously alerted state officials to problems, including receiving direct care from a nurse who was ill and not wearing a mask Was living Pratt said he was told by a doctor that he had almost died and had trouble sleeping since.
He feels completely fine, but waiting for the results of the test, he hopes that his body will be cleaned with coronovirus. He said he wants to ensure that he is not transferred to the COVID-19 nursing home wing. Pratt, who is recovering from an amputation, said he fully expects to be discharged from nursing care on September 22 if he tests negative for COVID-19.
He agreed to the order to close the Three River Homes.
“My opinion, they get what they get, because they hurt a lot of people,” Pratt said. “I am one of those who are almost dead.” Four people died due to this. If my wife and I did not open our mouth, nobody would know what is happening here. Many people cannot speak for themselves. ”
Her sister’s guardian Melis Swanson, who lives in a three-reverse nursing home with disabilities after suffering a stroke, said state officials arrived too late in a live online conference with family members on Wednesday.
Swanson hopes her sister can be discharged into the care of her husband, who has acquired a handicap-accessible apartment. He said that Three Rivers had refused to consider discharging his sister, who has not contracted COVID-19. Swanson said she would contact the state’s long-term care ombudsman Maird Painter to discuss her sister’s situation.
Painter, who spoke at Wednesday’s news conference, said he would contact residents’ families to discuss the bandh. She said that some residents and families have contacted the office and invited other people and residents of all state nursing homes to call the office at the toll-free number (866) 388-1888 if they have concerns. .
“Our program will continue to work directly with the temporary manager and staff at Three Rivers to ensure that the rights of all residents are protected as they work to find new locations to receive their long-term care support Do, “she said.
“This is a challenging time for Three River Health Care, our residents and our employees,” JACC Health Center of Norwich said in a statement released Wednesday through its public relations firm.
Since the initial outbreak, the company said, it has been collaborating with DPH “to bring our facility into full compliance with state and federal regulations,” including the engagement of temporary manager, Sachs, to oversee those efforts was.
The JACC said, “citing the Commissioner of Public Health,” has ordered that all residents be moved to other facilities that can safely meet their needs. “In these circumstances we support this order.”
“Our priority now is to work safely and rapidly and to move our residents to other homes, working closely with their families and loved ones,” the company said.
Investigation in progress
On August 31, DPH issued a deficiency statement for Three Rivers, an outbreak of COVID-19 that began when a staff member tested positive through regular weekly testing. Serious violations were found in serious infection control practices, staffing, agglomeration of residents who tested positive, and the use of personal protective equipment or PPE.
Osteen and state Rep. Kevin Ryan, D-Montville, said at Wednesday’s news conference that they wanted the state to continue its investigation into how severe the outbreak became in the Three River and even spread to Backes Hospital, where there was less At least nine hospital workers are infected.
Osteen said residents have been asked to move elsewhere because they do not feel safe in the three rivers. “I feel very relieved that a decision has been taken to protect the residents,” she said.
He said the state’s Attorney General’s Office is investigating the nursing home.
“We need to know those answers, and we need to know those answers in a timely fashion,” Osten said. “We need to sit down and ask tough questions and get those answers. What happened here was unacceptable. It was not what we expect from a nursing home, and it was not what we expected those people to take care of.” Who are at risk here. ” Norwich. ”
A group of area legislators wrote to Lampont on September 3 to demand an executive order requiring nursing home staff to report the incident to their employers and to stay indoors when they are ill with COVID -19 know performance.
According to a state inspection report, a nurse in Three Rivers who traveled out of state with the family returned to work with symptoms of the disease. Many employees said she was interacting with residents and staff without wearing a mask.
DPH began an investigation on August 17, making a series of visits to several sites, reviewing the facility of records, and interviewing many residents and employees.
DPH issued an immediate threat finding, meaning the breach was seriously a threat of imminent harm to life. In addition to these findings of violation of federal standards, DPH is investigating whether state regulations, laws, or executive orders were violated by the facility. DPH personnel remain on site to monitor the situation.
Several speakers, including Mayor Peter Nistrom and State Ryan, said they are concerned for the employees of Three Rivers who are losing their jobs. Norwich already has the highest unemployment rate in the state tied to the epidemic-related trade-offs.
Local 1199 of the New England Health Care Employees Union issued a statement on Wednesday accusing DPH of not finding deficiencies in the Three Rivers to implement reforms to close the facility. The union said the closure would put residents in front through disintegration and could force dozens of front-line workers out of their jobs.
The union statement said, “DPH must do better, much better, to ensure infection control protocols in every nursing home in Connecticut.” “The malleable management behavior seen in Three River may prompt patients to be discharged from the facility immediately. But shutting down the facility is not the best outcome for residents and their families, for (front-line) workers or for the community as a whole . ”
Closing the facility “may allow operators to turn off the hook for irresponsible administrative decisions that accelerate COVID-19 transitions,” the union said.