St. Benedict’s Senior Community, a nursing home in St. Cloud, Minnesota, has been cited after staff members chose not to resuscitate a patient who had no pulse.
According to a report released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health (DoH), the resident complained of dizziness and became unresponsive after walking to the dining room for lunch. Staff detected a pulse and proceeded to move the resident to the back of the room. Staff checked on the resident a short while later and found that she had no pulse, StarTribune.com reported.
The report states the nurses made no attempt to resuscitate the resident, even though she had said on admission that CPR should be administered in life-threatening emergencies. The patient died 10 minutes later, according to StarTribune.com.
The nurses went to a supervisory nurse who told them not to administer CPR because no one had witnessed the resident’s last breath and because too much time had elapsed for the intervention to be successful. The DoH said in its report that the nurses should have started CPR as soon as they realized the patient had no pulse, but they followed the supervisory nurse’s instructions instead, StarTribune.com reported.
The nurses who checked the patient’s pulse were suspended the same day and fired two days later. The supervisory nurse received retraining on the home’s policies and procedures. The DoH report placed the blame on the nursing home. St. Benedict’s objected to the department’s findings but did not appeal its decision, according to StarTribune.
Every year, 2.1 million older Americans become victims of nursing home abuse. Authorities estimate that for every nursing home injury that gets reported, as many as five cases go unreported. In 1999, 5,000 death certificates from nursing home patients showed they died from dehydration, malnutrition, starvation, or bedsores.
Nursing homes are desperate for employees, according to a CNN report that said about 90 percent of nursing homes are understaffed. Typically, abusive nursing home staff don’t offend for the first time on the job. Nearly one-quarter of these individuals have a criminal record. Staff shortages and high stress unfortunately makes nursing homes the perfect environment for abuse.