St. Therese of New Hope Cited for Lack of Infection Control Measures
While St. Therese of New Hope senior living remains at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, a recent report sheds light on failed inspections that continue to plague the campus. At least 55 people have died at the facility while at least 147 others have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The outbreak has impacted the 258-bed nursing home of the campus. St. Therese has separate buildings for assisted living and independent living. According to St. Therese the first resident tested positive for the virus on April 5 and the first two deaths were on April 6.
On April 14, Minnesota Department Health (MDH) inspectors visited St. Therese. The New Hope facility was found “out of compliance” with infection control requirements. Out of two units visited, both times staff failed to ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) was worn and handled in a manner to reduce the risk of cross-contamination by staff, the report found. MDH officials found that the deficiency “had the potential to affect all residents, staff and visitors in the facility.”
Report: St. Therese Employees Failed to Follow Infection Control Rules
During the April 14 visit, visible signage was on doors that included stop signs with instructions for disposing of PPE and donning proper gear to cover eyes, nose and mouth.
In a visit to one of the rooms where a patient was in isolation, the report found that a physical therapy assistant (PTA) was observed not wearing gear to cover her eyes. The PTA also removed her gown in the hallway and not before exiting the room, as required, the report noted.
MDH investigators spoke with the PTA who stated she must have “forgot the eye things this time,” the report said. She also explained she had been pulled to the floor to work as a nursing assistant since there had been an outbreak of COVID-19 in the facility and “numerous staff were out ill.”
The PTA stated she “[hadn’t] really had” any training on isolation precautions for patients suspected of having COVID-19, but was supposed to have some training “sometime this week.” the report said. The PTA also said this was her third shift working on the floor as a nursing assistant and verified she was doing direct patient care while working these shifts.
The facility administrator was interviewed by MDH and explained that St. Therese had provided education to all licensed and non-licensed staff, which included the PTA. An education log noted the PTA was present for training on April 6. However, a registered nurse interviewed by MDH acknowledged that not all staff had been observed for the April 6 training “due to the sheer volume of staff employed.” St. Therese is largest long-term care facility in the state.
In another instance, the MDH report found a nursing assistant was in a COVID-19 patient room and failed to get rid of his gown upon exiting the room, despite instructions on the door to do otherwise. The nursing assistant stated he helped the resident with setting up a meal tray and exited the room before washing hands, the report said.
MDH May Revisit St. Therese
CCX News reached out to St. Therese requesting comment on the report. The facility wrote back saying it “does not wish to make any further statements at this time.”
St. Therese has provided statements previously to CCX News in previous stories. In a prior statement, Barb Rode, St. Therese’s CEO and president wrote, “This has been devastating to a community that prides itself on providing quality, loving care.”
The Minnesota Department of Health provided St. Therese an infection control specialist and audited the facility twice since March 31. MDH says it may revisit the St. Therese facility to determine if its complying with the regulations.
“The facility must establish and maintain an infection prevention and control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment and to help prevent the development and transmission of communicable diseases and infections,” the report said.
CCX News Executive Producer Corey Bork contributed to this report.