OSHA says to protect staff

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A federal investigation recently found that a Colorado nursing home failed to adequately protect staff from violent residents.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in late January cited and fined Pioneer Health Care Center in Rocky Ford more than $9,000.

OSHA said Pioneer must install more security cameras and alarms, remove dangerous items from violent residents' rooms and improve training and staffing. Its investigation followed violent incidents in August 2017. Certified nursing assistants, OSHA said, suffered “bites, sprains, broken skin, bruising, scratches, soft tissue trauma, and injuries to the head and torso from punches, kicks, and forceful grabs.”

Pioneer Director of Nursing Sharon Emory, RN, said the incidents occurred in its memory care unit, which treats residents with debilitating brain diseases. She disagrees that the facility is unsafe. “For OSHA to imply interactions with a cognitively impaired resident create a hostile work environment for our employees is both sad and detrimental to the entire long-term care industry,” she said.