Brius nursing home in Marin County fined for understaffing

For the second time this year, the California Department of Public Health has fined a Brius nursing home for failing to meet minimum staffing levels for nursing personnel.

The San Rafael Healthcare and Wellness Center received a $15,000 fine, the agency revealed this week, for understaffing discovered during a routine staffing audit.

This is the latest patient care violation at the 54-bed facility in Marin County, Calif. Over the last two years, inspectors have cited it for stocking the kitchen with expired food and forcing caregivers to use paper towels to dry residents because the facility had so few towels and wash cloths.

California currently requires nursing homes to provide each resident with a minimum of 3.2 hours of nursing care per day. Next July, California will raise its standard to 3.5 hours. These levels fall far short of the 4.1 nursing hours per patient day recommended by a federal report and the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (formerly NCCNHR).

Adequate staffing levels are critical to preventing resident falls, pressure sores, infections, weight loss, dehydration and other adverse outcomes, according to studies.

Earlier this year, the California Public Health Department fined Brius’ Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center $160,000 for numerous patient care violations connected to understaffing. Inspectors found that one resident suffered eight falls in less than four months, including one that led to stint in the local hospital, while another resident fell six times in three months, one of which resulted in a broken nose.

Caregivers told inspectors that they were assigned up to three times the amount of work that could possibly be completed during a shift. Residents reported sitting in soiled clothes after waiting more than 30 minutes for staff to answer their calls to assist them to the bathroom

Understaffing at the Marin County home is hardly a secret. During a state legislative hearing last month, Maria Martinez, a veteran nursing assistant at San Rafael Healthcare & Wellness Center, told lawmakers that her facility was “understaffed almost every single day.”

The $15,000 fine stems from a CDPH inspection conducted Sept. 27, 2016.

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