A Pennsylvania nursing home patient had to be hospitalized after he sat for hours in the hot sun last August. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports that the state has imposed a correction plan on the home and the head administrator has left.
The incident occurred at the Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Cumberland County near Carlisle. The resident had been in the sun for two hours and was non-responsive by the time a visitor called attention about his condition to one of the staff.
The visitor noticed the resident sitting by himself sometime about 3:45 pm that day. The visitor saw that the man’s head was drooping, and he was drooling and non-responsive. The last documented interaction with the resident by staff was at 2:00 pm in his room. After that, the resident interacted with a social worker on the elevator and told the worker that he was “going to go work on his tan.”
During the roughly two hours he was outside, several staff members had seen him out there and said nothing about his condition. There is no indication that any staff advised him to come back inside – even though the resident’s own behavior plan included the advisory that staff should encourage him not to linger in the sun. The resident’s medical history included congestive heart failure and hypertension.
One nurse said he saw him sitting in his wheelchair around 2:30 pm., and didn’t think anything was wrong. Another aide saw the resident sitting with his shirt off at about 3:00, and noticed he appeared to be sleeping – but did nothing about it.
When the visitor finally notified staff of the man’s non-responsive condition, he was taken to the ER. Doctors at the hospital found he had a body temperature of 106.3 degrees. After being taken to intensive care unit, he was treated for shock and severe hyperthermia.
The report from the state shows that the nursing home did not have a policy to require staff to supervise residents outside on hot days. The report also indicated that the nursing home did not report the incident electronically to the state, as required.
The administrator has since left her position at Claremont, but it is not clear whether she resigned or was fired. Another health care management company has been contracted to provide the administration duties for the home.