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NUHW members get Fountain Valley Regional Hospital cited for inadequate care

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has cited Fountain Valley Regional Hospital for multiple patient safety violations following an investigation into 248 complaints filed by NUHW members.

In a 94-page report, the agency concluded that Fountain Valley lacked “an effective [governing body]…to provide a safe and secure environment for the patients,” resulting in understaffing of nurses and other healthcare workers, as well as widespread lapses in care delivery.

The CDPH also found that Fountain Valley failed to meet nurse-to-patient staffing ratios both during daytime and nighttime shifts in 11 departments, including pediatric and neonatal intensive care, as well as surgery, orthopedics and the emergency units.

The agency required the hospital administration draft a Corrective Action Plan, and could penalize the facility if the plan is not fully implemented. State authorities also cited the hospital for violating COVID-19 regulations following a complaint by NUHW.

“I’m proud of my colleagues for blowing the whistle on unsafe conditions at our hospital,” said Makenna Musson, a registered nurse. “The state report validates our complaints, and we are determined to make management fully enact its Corrective Action Plan, and provide safe staffing for patients.”

Health investigators found several additional violations, including:

  • A charge nurse was not assigned to units throughout the hospital.
  • Break nurses were frequently unavailable for co-workers who needed to take meals or breaks.
  • No support staff in the intensive care and definitive observation units to assist with lifting and repositioning patients on the night shift.
  • Lapses in protocols for the administration of IV medications and blood transfusions, including one instance in which a patient with anemia waited eight hours for a blood transfusion which a physician had ordered be given immediately.
  • Unsanitary conditions including a broken freezer where patient food was stored as well as moldy patient bathroom showers and dirty staff lounges.

As part of the hospital’s Plan of Correction, it pledged to:

  • Assign clinical directors or their designee to monitor nurse-to-patient ratios every shift and complete staffing forecasting based on patient volume and acuity twice daily.
  • Provide retraining on several topics including telemetry monitoring.
  • Perform daily exam room checks by engineering staff and ensure that patient showers are in good condition.

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