Medicare assigns a star rating to each nursing home, from one to five, based on health inspections, staffing and quality measures. This is often used by families to determine where to send their loved ones. Unfortunately, Gracedale's rating is going in the wrong direction. Its current rating is two stars, or below average. The most recent state survey, conducted in December, resulted in 11 deficiencies. Administrator Jennifer Stewart-King downplayed the significance of this most recent health inspection in brief remarks on Jan 24, but Northampton County Council President Ron Heckman wants to schedule a meeting in which Gracedale, and Gracedale alone, is discussed.
This most recent inspection, conducted by the state Department of Health, notes the following problems:
(1) Gracedale "failed to ensure a dignified dining experience" for several residents. One resident was attempting to feed herself but most of her food never made it to her mouth. "The resident was not able to eat much of her meal."
(2) Gracedale failed to provide "reasonable accommodation of resident needs." A resident with lower back trouble was unable to reach the call bell and ask for help, even though she required extensive physical assistance.
(3) Gracedale violated one resident's right to be free from physical restraints. A doctor had ordered that one resident with a history of falling be placed in something called a pelvic restraint, but also ordered that she be released from it every three hours and while eating. The restraint was kept in place.
(4) Gracedale failed to develop a comprehensive care plan for three residents. This appeared with several residents who were being treated with psychotropic drugs, with no plan in place to address the underlying condition.
(5) Gracedale failed to ensure proper hygiene for two residents. One had "jagged, long and dirty" nails and another was unwilling to brush his teeth.
(6) Gracedale failed to provide quality care to a resident whose arms had visible scratches and scabs. The facility had no documentation that even noted the condition.
(7) Gracedale failed to provide services to relieve pressure sores for a resident with pressure sores on his heels.
(8) Gracedale failed to ensure that two wheelchair-bound residents had call bells.
(9) Gracedale failed to label respiratory equipment for a resident who was receiving oxygen therapy.
(10) Several residents were basically locked into their beds with no evidence that an assessment was made to determine if this was needed.In addition, informed consent from the resident is needed for this measure and there is no evidence it was obtained.