HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — An unannounced health inspection in mid-April at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center exposed hygiene and safety violations – just as the death toll at the facility reached 45.
As of today, 50 residents have now died from complications related to COVID-19.
An 8 News investigation uncovered that health inspectors conducted an “on-site and off-site” inspection of the long-term care facility between April 14 and 16.
During the midst of the deadly outbreak, inspectors found healthcare workers failed to take basic infection control precautions such as failing to wear gloves and failing to sanitize their hands, according to the report provided to 8 News by the Virginia Department of Health. READ THE FULL REPORT
According to the COVID-19 focused survey, in one incident, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) was observed delivering meals on a COVID-19-positive hallway while not wearing gloves.
In a resident’s room, the same CNA touched personal items and the curtain between two residents. And without washing her hands, she returned to the meal cart, according to the report.
Kay Van Wey, a medical malpractice attorney with Van Wey, Presby & Williams in Dallas, TX, says that type of behavior is conscious disregard for the safety of residents.
“If something as simple as hand washing is not being done, in my view that is gross negligence,” said Van Wey.
Another CNA was observed not wearing an isolation gown or gloves, stated the report. And with her ungloved hand, touched a resident. She later put on gloves, but when “she removed her gloves, she did not immediately wash her hands.”
When she finally did was her hands, it was for less than 20 seconds, states the report.
The nursing assistant was asked about not wearing a gown multiple times while caring for coronavirus patients. According to the report, she said “I just wasn’t thinking.”
The inspection also found failures in relation to facility cleaning for the coronavirus.
8 News reached out to Canterbury’s medical director, Dr. Jim Wright, while working on this story and he refused our request for an interview. He provided the following statement:
“A multitude of factors are considered during a CMS survey, however the finding that even a few items require correction is not acceptable. On the CMS A-L grading scale, the ‘E’ tag is a mid-level deficiency – one depicting no actual harm – yet we take any violation of protocol seriously. One employee was found to be the primary offender; disciplinary action in that case is underway. Additionally, our entire staff is slated to take part in an infection control protocols reeducation. Throughout this crisis our nurses, doctors, aids, housekeepers, members of the dietary teams and other staff that have worked tirelessly, going above and beyond on heroically caring for members of our community. We continue to work hard both individually and as a group to provide our residents with the best care humanly possible.”
Since the outbreak began in March, more than 100 residents and staff members have tested positive for the virus at Canterbury, making it one of the worst clusters of cases in the United States.