Montgomery County officials who ordered two wings of a Bethesda nursing home closed by May 31 because of unsanitary conditions and inadequate staffing have decided to let the wings remain open pending the conty's annual decision whether to renew the license for the entire facility.
The order that two of the Wildwood Health Care Center's five wings must be closed was signed March 30 by Frances L. Abrams, director of the county's Department of Environmental Protection.
Abrams said yesterday that the latest county inspection of the facility, performed Tuesday, showed that "a good deal of work on cleaningsup and repairing the physical facilities had been done."
She said that ideally the decision whether to renew the nursing home's license would be made by May 30, but it may take longer.
A hearing scheduled for today by the County Board of Appeals on Wildwood's appeal of the order to close the two wings was canceled.
Abrams said, "we feel conditions in the nursing home are no longer lifethreatening, but they still must meet perfect compliance before renewsal of their license.
"We would not be able to sustain our revocation on the basis of conditions existing now, said Abrams," and that's probably what the board (of appeals) is most interested in. We'd end up haggling over what the conditions were like before. Our main interest is compliance. But since their license is pending for renewal we still have a handle on them.
The elderly patients of the nursing home would be worse off being moved to another facility than staying at Wildwood under the present conditions, said Abrams.
According to Abrams, county inspectors found on periodic surprise visits to the home between November 1977 and April 1978 roaches, human feces on floors, wheelchairs and furniture, bedpans full of human waste, spilled urine and dirty, dusty rooms in the two wings holding 72 of the 180 patients in the nursing facility.
In addition, the nursing staff was inadequate and no records of medications administered to patients were kept, according to Abrams.
The latest inspection showed "the level of cleanliness had improved," Abrams said. "They've installed two bedpan washing sinks they didn't have before."
In addition, the chairs and furniture that "were so badly decrepit" with dirt and human wastes have been reupholstered she said. "They refinished bed frames as well," Abrams said. "The bed frames had badly rusted."
Abrams had said that heating in the nursing home bathrooms was not provided before she signed the order to close the two wings. "But the new home has offered us what appears to be a copy of the contract with a heating company to get heat in the bathrooms," said Abrams.
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] pennyh The home still lacks adequate nursing staff, Abrams said, and there still ae inadequate records of patients, she said.
Also, there are still roaches and "one or two spots of urine" in the home, said Abrams.
Shirley McKnight, administrator of Wildwood, said improvements at the home facilities "have been ongoing".
"The reupholstering had been onooing," McKnight said. "The county zanted us to refinish the bed frames in January but we couldn't because we would have had to take the beds outside in the middle of winter. You can't refinish beds inside the nursing home because of the smell of the finish."
The problem with cleanliness is one "we are always striving to improve," said McKnight.
"We have 95 totally incontinent patients who cannot control their bladders or their bowels," said McKnight. "They have the ability to move around the entire nursing home. No one is bedridden."