Ezedube Eze is no longer the director of the Annandale Healthcare Center, the nursing home on Columbia Pike under fire for its poor response to protecting patients and staff from COVID-19. Eze’s last day was Friday, Aug. 28.
Alexandra Rehkemper, who had been the assistant director since February 2019, is the new director.
According to Beth DeFalco, a spokesperson for CommuniCare, the Ohio-based company that owns the Annandale Healthcare Center, the leadership change has nothing to do with the problems at the facility.
The Annandale Healthcare Center has had the biggest COVID-19 outbreak among Virginia nursing homes, with at least 55 deaths and 156 cases.
Two reports by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to the Virginia Department of Health cite numerous deficiencies: inadequate COVID screening of staff entering the building, failure of staff to practice social distancing, failure of housekeeping staff to follow correct hygiene practices, failure to screen vendors entering the building, and improper use of PPE, among many other violations.
Another CommuniCare property, Kensington Healthcare Center, was fined $294,000 by the state of Maryland, the Washington Post reported last week. Inspectors found that facility, in Montgomery County, failed to separate patients who tested positive for COVID-19 from patients who tested negative.
Neither the Virginia Department of Health nor the CMS has taken any action against the Annandale Healthcare Center. After the most recent survey in July, the center has been given time to implement another series of corrections.
Meanwhile, a patient at the facility says nursing staff are still not wearing face masks regularly when they go from patients’ rooms in the COVID wing to the non-COVID wing.
She also cites numerous other problems at the facility, including bad air quality, inedible food, the lack of outdoor time and physical activities, mold in the bathroom, and medication mix-ups.
|A typical breakfast banana at the Annandale Healthcare Center.|
Patients complained about being stuck in bed all day, unable to access showers, and unable to get staff to respond in a timely manner. Family members complained about being unable to get medical records.
The ombudsman has to maintain confidentiality, Yeomans says, so she can’t reveal whether those issues were resolved.
“The ombudsman hears complaints and works to resolve them, but we can’t force the facility to do anything,” she says. “Under COVID, we’re living in a different reality,” so facilities have to be a little more restrictive to protect the health and safety of residents.