Friday, June 28, 2013

Quincy Medical Center psychiatry unit cited for squalid conditions, patient neglect

Close to home: Our Quincy, Massachusetts Law Office is located only 1 mile from the Quincy Medical Center. Disturbingly, the Boston Globe reported today that state officials had temporarily halted admissions to their elder psychiatric ward.
"State inspectors found filthy conditions and patients left unattended on Quincy Medical Center’s psychiatric ward for seniors, prompting regulators to temporarily prohibit admissions to the unit last month"
The hospital fired at least two managers.
Inspectors made a surprise visit May 23, responding to concerns about the geriatric unit at the hospital, owned by Steward Health Care. Patients were largely ignored by nurses and other staff members and left in bed without covers and wearing only hospital gowns, inspectors found. Some complained of mean nursing staff members.
In one room, a woman in bed was covered in feces and said no one had answered her calls for help. She told inspectors that one nurse was unkind and that another staff member “told her she needed to take care of herself.”
“The patient in the bed next to her was almost cowering and very frightened,” said the report by the state Department of Mental Health. “The odor coming from this room could not have been missed by anyone in the hallway, yet no one was responding to the patient.”
The facility overall was squalid, with dirty floors, damaged furniture, and missing privacy curtains in patient rooms, inspectors found.
The state closed the unit to new admissions for about a week as the hospital began taking corrective actions. The action came to light this week after Globe inquiries.
Hospital leaders acknowledged serious problems on the unit. In a June 11 letter to the state, Daniel Knell, the Quincy Medical Center president, said the inspectors’ findings were “disturbing and concerning.” Several staff members were terminated, he wrote. Those remaining have gone through patient rights training, which included watching a four-minute video on empathy, and will have ongoing training.
“A change in culture among unit staff is paramount,” Knell wrote.
The hospital system has “responded with all of its resources” to the state findings, said Lizbeth Kinkead, licensing director at the state Department of Mental Health. But she will be watching for hospital administrators to demonstrate ongoing support for this and other psychiatric units within the Steward chain.
The leadership at the hospital “was a big part of my concern, really: Who was paying attention to this?” she said. “Who was looking at the functions of everybody, up and down the system?”
Quincy Medical Center psychiatry unit cited for squalid conditions, patient neglect - Health -

by Bernard Hamill
Nursing Home Abuse

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