Nursing Home Safety Violations Endanger Residents in California
As huge swaths of California burned last fall, federal health officials descended on 20 California nursing homes to determine whether they were prepared to protect their vulnerable residents from fires, earthquakes and other disasters.
The results of their surprise inspections, which took place from September to December of 2018, were disturbing: Inspectors found hundreds of potentially life-threatening violations of safety and emergency requirements, including blocked emergency exit doors, unsafe use of power strips and extension cords, and inadequate fuel for emergency generators, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
The nursing home residents “were at increased risk of injury or death during a fire or other emergency,” the report concluded.
The threat is not theoretical in a state that has been ravaged by natural disasters: One of the nursing homes that was inspected burned down in a wildfire afterward, so the report only includes results for the 19 remaining facilities, which it does not identify.