The Providence Journal had an interesting article about the neglect and poor care provided at Summit Commons nursing home.  Rhode Island’s Department of Health has found that Summit Commons provided neglectful and substandard care to a patient.  DOH ordered the nursing home to install electronic-medical records to prevent future such problems.

The order against the Summit Commons Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center marks the first time the Health Department has imposed such a mandate on a nursing home.  Through a series of negligent mistakes, Summit Commons failed to check the blood sugar of a diabetic patient for three weeks, even after prescribing a drug that can cause blood sugar to go up. The nursing home also continued to give the patient stool softeners after he developed diarrhea.

The patient was admitted to Summit Commons on March 16 with doctor’s orders to check his blood sugar twice a day and give him insulin as necessary. But the nurses failed to transcribe those instructions onto the patient’s medical chart, and failed to catch the error when checking later, Gifford said. Electronic-medical records would automatically generate such orders and nurses would not have to transcribe them, Gifford said.  Later, the patient was prescribed prednisone to treat arthritis. Prednisone can elevate blood sugar, and that prescription should have triggered tests of blood sugar, Gifford said.

The patient was eventually admitted to Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island with shortness of breath, congestive heart failure, low blood pressure and dangerously high blood sugar.  The patient was sent home with hospice care and died soon after.

The patient was hospitalized, the nursing home failed to notify the Health Department as required. The Health Department conducted an inspection on April 20 after relatives of the man reported the incident and requested an investigation.  It’s the second time in less than a year that Summit Commons has run afoul of health inspectors. In August, the state declared that patients were in “immediate jeopardy” because of the nursing home’s failure to treat bedsores.


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