The casual disregard for hygiene displayed at the Holy Family Villa in Palos Park, Illinois is particularly shocking because it clearly illustrates how little the facility’s administration care about properly training their staff.
Before describing the individual incidents, it’s worth noting that nursing home inspectors are not hiding under beds or planting hidden cameras. They are merely standing in nursing homes, and observing what they see.
At the Holy Family Villa, staff was observed serving trays and drinks without washing their hands. They fed resident after resident without ever washing. They touched different potentially contaminated surfaces and then resumed feeding residents all without washing.
The Director of Nursing at the facility stated to the inspectors “If we washed our hands after caring for each resident, we would be washing our hands 24/7, and that’s just not necessary.” The Holy Family Villa’s policy for infection control states, incidentally, that hands must be washed between touching residents.
And yet, the failure to wash hands is the least of the offenses observed. One Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) was to administer a breathing treatment through the use of a nebulizer (a machine that turns medication into mist for inhaling). The device’s chamber contained medication liquid from another resident’s use. Instead of cleaning and sterilizing the chamber, the LPN dumped the old medication out, filled the chamber with the new medication and administered the treatment.
Even that, as bad as it sounds, was not the worst offense recorded. An inspector observed, on two occasions, an LPN use a finger stick blood reading device and then place it back onto the cart without cleaning it. Obviously, the potential for spreading a blood-born pathogens under those conditions is enormous.
Nursing homes have an obligation to protect their residents from the spread of disease and other injuries. Consider that these incidents occurred when the staff knew they were being observed by the Illinois Department of Public Health, and ask yourself what goes on at Holy Family Villa when they aren’t under observation.
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