Tuesday, May 01, 2001

Inspectors cite Christ Hospital

But survey doesn't back allegations

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A three-day inspection of Christ Hospital has resulted in two citations against the hospital, for failing to keep medicine cabinets locked and for not properly treating bedsores.

        However, the inspectors said they could not confirm several other allegations of poor medical care and poor housekeeping made by the family of a former patient.

        Health inspectors from the Ohio Department of Health visited Christ Hospital April 16-18, largely in response to a March 21 complaint letter sent by Milford resident Karen Ashcraft.

        Mrs. Ashcraft alleged that her mother, Mary Anderson, developed a near-lethal staph infection in March 2000 after a heart bypass surgery that required a two- month stay to treat.

        During that time, the family noted several complaints about her care, including a fall out of what was described as a broken bed, a nurse placing a soiled washcloth on a food cart, soiled linens tossed on furniture, unmopped floors and overflowing trash cans.

        The state inspectors, however, could not substantiate Mrs. Ashcraft's allegations about cleanliness and infection control.

        “Surveyors made observations of the patient areas and rooms on the three days of the survey. Patient rooms were in order,” the inspectors wrote in their report. “The floor of the complainant's room may have been filthy at the time of the hospital stay; however, at the time of the survey this problem was not noted.”

        The findings come as no surprise to Don Nitz, a volunteer patient representative at Christ Hospital.

        “Out of every 100 patients I see, well over 90 percent are very, very complimentary,” Mr. Nitz said. “In a hospital as big as that, no doubt some problems can occur. But I just feel that the staff there is very concerned about keeping the reputation they have. I frankly feel proud to be working there.”

        Richard Seim, senior vice president at Christ Hospital, said the hospital has started taking action based on the two citations as well as patient complaints.

        All Christ Hospital nurses will receive more extensive training about bedsore control. The training will include two videos that all nurses must watch. The hospital will increase time spent on the issue during new nurse orientation from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.

        Medication cabinets that once automatically locked themselves after five minutes will begin lock ing at two minutes. None of the medication cabinets found open by state inspectors contained narcotic prescription drugs, officials said.

        Meanwhile, even though the complaint about housekeeping was not substantiated, the hospital has changed some procedures.

        Now, when a room is cleaned, staff are expected to leave a card in the room noting the date and who did the cleaning. The card includes a phone number for patients or visitors to call with comments.

        Mrs. Ashcraft could not be reached for comment Monday.

        However, Loveland resident Angela McPartland, who also raised complaints about conditions at Christ Hospital when her husband was treated in 1999, said the complaints appeared to make a difference.

        “Hopefully, people complaining is helping them do things better,” Mrs. McPartland said.


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