Nursing Home Must Fix Problems

March 05, 1992|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff writer

An Annapolis nursing home that failed a recent state inspection is being threatened with sanctions until it corrects problems with providing patient care.

Health inspectors reported deficiencies with staffing, supervision and patient treatment at the Annapolis Convalescent Center during visits in January and February. The 91-bed nursing home has until March 20 to submit a correction plan, or it risks losingits Medicare and Medicaid support.

In a 62-page report released this week, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene detailed violations of 13 state and federal regulations.

But department spokesman Michael Golden noted thatthe nursing home had never been cited before, and none of the violations seriously jeopardized the patients' health or safety.

"Certainly there are some problems there that need to be addressed," he said. "But the report is really not that bad."

Administrator Marie Okronley said she's taking steps to improve care at the center on Bay Ridge Avenue, including hiring more staff and firing the director of nursing. But she also said she would dispute several of the deficiencies cited in the report.

"We give good care here," she said yesterday, adding that she expects the center to easily pass the follow-up review.

Annapolis Convalescent Center is listed on the state's "slowtermination track" to be stripped of its eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid, the federal insurance programs that provide the bulk of nursing home revenue. If the center failed to correct its problems, the state would ban new admissions, Golden said.

In one of the most serious incidents cited by the state inspectors, an 89-year-old womanthreatened to strangle herself with a piece of string because she thought the nursing aides were too busy to take care of her.

Other problems listed in the report included allowing a patient with Alzheimer's disease to wander about and injure herself, giving patients wrong doses of medication, failing to notify physicians immediately aboutpossible complications, and problems with record-keeping.

The report comes less than six months after a former nursing aide pleaded guilty to abusing patients at the center. Michele Graves was the first health-care worker in Anne Arundel County to be prosecuted under the state's new "vulnerable adult abuse law."

The 21-year-old Annapolis woman told police that she was frustrated and "lost control" after working double shifts when the center was short-staffed. She was placed on five years' probation on the condition that she would not work at a nursing home again.

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