The administrator of the Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehabilitation Center on Post Road in Warwick, says the facility is actively addressing issues cited in a compliance order from the Department of Health.
During an unannounced inspection beginning on Feb. 19, the Department of Health found the facility to be in violation of federal and state certification and licensing regulations for nursing homes.
“We take the role of caring for our residents very seriously and our goal is to immediately address any issues as they arise,” said Susan LaNinfa, the facility’s administrator, in a statement yesterday. “Our processes for improvement continue to be addressed daily in many ways, for example, with ongoing evaluation through assessment meetings, discussion of resident conditions and review of patient outcomes.”
Peter Hanney, interim public information officer at the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH), said the preliminary inspection found problems with the facility’s pain management, bed sore treatment, fall prevention and range of motion practices.
Hanney said the Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehabilitation Center has had a history of incompliance with codes and regulations, and has been on probation for the past year. During probationary periods, facilities are inspected more frequently.
“Normally we go every nine to 15 months,” he said. “But this facility was being checked every six months, if not every four to five.”
In the most recent “Immediate Order of Compliance” issued to the facility by HEALTH, Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehab is said to have a “chronic inability to maintain compliance” with health and safety standards set forth by Rhode Island laws, and “a pattern of actual harm indicating substandard quality of care continue to exist at the facility.”
Beginning on Feb. 19, HEALTH conducted a multi-day inspection of the facility, but their presence was not unknown to the staff at the facility.
“We put up signs to announce we’re there,” said Hanney. “We don’t exactly have squad cars that pull up.”
Hanney said the Department of Health has been receiving numerous phone calls and emails about the facility, but they have been careful to weed out complaints.
“People complain about anything and everything,” he said. “This facility is already on accelerated inspection.”
Though Hanney did not go into the specifics of the preliminary infractions found on Feb. 19, he did say a finalized report of violations would be made by March 9. Until then, the facility is under a “time out,” in which they can no longer accept new patients.
Patients who were out on hospital leave must be approved prior to readmission at the institution. Hanney said patients who were hospitalized due to an area of deficiency at the facility will likely not be allowed back in, while others, who may have been hospitalized for a cold, will be allowed to return.
For the patients still at Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehab, Hanney said HEALTH is carefully monitoring the facility and its patients, who along with their families and guardians, have been notified of the Department of Health’s compliance order.
“Our staff is dedicated to caring for our residents and families and is focused on meeting our residents and family needs,” LaNinfa said. “As administrator of Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehabilitation Center, I want to let our families know that I am available to meet with them, individually, to discuss our services and programs or address any concerns they may have. We remain committed to the community of Warwick and to offering the highest level of care possible to our residents.”
Once the finalized report is made, the facility will have to make changes in order to comply with standards set forth by the state.
Kathleen Heren, director of the Alliance for Better Long Term Care, said she has seen Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehab go through this cycle before, and doubts they will be able to make lasting changes this time.
According to documents from the Department of Health, citations have been given to the facility since 2007, and follow-up inspections have warranted further monitoring by HEALTH. Due to repeated failure to comply with standards, the facility was put on probation in early 2011 after continued “widespread problems with medication administration” that included (as cited in prior reports) “failure to verify and follow doctors orders, timing or administration, errors in medication dosages.”
Heren said she expects Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehab to come up with a solution to the problem but to eventually slip off track again. She thinks that HEALTH Director Dr. Michael Fine should either appoint someone to run the facility, or otherwise close it down.
“I think it’s three strikes and you’re out,” she said.
Heren said one of the major problems with the facility is lack of constant administration.
“In the past few years there hasn’t been the same administrator for more than three or four months,” she said.
Each compliance order from the Department of Health lists a different administrator.
If the facility is forced to close, Heren said the Alliance for Better Long Term Care will talk with the patients and families about the best place for them to relocate.
Though Hanney said there is a chance of the facility’s closure “at any time,” nothing will be set in stone until the final recommendations are made by the Department of Health.
“We don’t want to jump the gun,” said Hanney.