Healthcare workers say seniors are being improperly cared for at several Virginia nursing homes

In Northern Virginia, multiple healthcare workers raised a red flag after claiming senior patients are improperly being cared for in several Northern Virginia senior facilities. The healthcare workers reached out to FOX 5 concerned what they saw is only helping to spread COVID-19 to some of our most vulnerable citizens: seniors. 

The healthcare workers who contacted FOX 5 asked to remain anonymous. One cried as they spoke with us on Friday, explaining what they witnessed specifically at the Leewood Healthcare Center in Annandale. 

COVID-19 BY THE NUMBERS: DC, Maryland and Virginia coronavirus case totals

In one accusation, the healthcare workers claimed nurse went into a positive COVID-19 patient’s room without any personal protective equipment (PPE) on. At that same facility, healthcare workers also claimed that a positive COVID-19 patient was seen in the same room as someone still waiting for their test result.

Leewood’s Administer responded to FOX 5 right away. Terence Kee said the facility is following the Centers for Medicare (CMS) and Medicaid’s guidance and cannot move a resident until they test negative. That resident is presumptive positive in the meantime.

On Friday, Virginia’s Health Department noted 2,412 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 311 deaths within the state’s longterm care facilities, according to the health departments’ website. The state also has 132 COVID-19 outbreaks in longterm care facilities across Virginia with Fairfax County home to 35 of them.  
The state Department of Health is the only major health department in the area that won’t name the nursing and assisted facilities dealing with COVID-19. Leewood, however, has been sharing some of that information with their community. Two Sundays ago, a post to their website shared positive case numbers. 

Kee tells FOX 5 as of Friday, May 1, Leewood has 36 positive and 40 negative residents in-house on the nursing side. There are no positive COVID-19 cases suspected in their assisted living section. A full statement from the facility is included below. 

FOX 5 also reached out to the Fairfax County Health Department, who informed us they do have an official on site who can look into accusations and offer best COVID19 guidance.

A spokesperson with the Fairfax County Health Department said they were not aware of any complaints against the Leewood Healthcare Center at the time they checked. 

“In the event that we do receive a complaints, the Health Department reinforces the guidance/message that was provided from the start,” wrote Tina Dale in an email. Dale tells FOX 5 there was guidance issued for all staff to cohort and stick to working with either ill or well residents/patients – not both. 

“PPE should be worn consistently with COVID + residents and this includes: N95, face shield, gown, and gloves. PPE should be changed if it becomes soiled or wet, or torn. Hand hygiene should be emphasized and reinforced consistently throughout the day,” wrote Dale, who also said if a nurse must serve both ill and well patients, they must change gloves and gowns. FOX 5 was told shields and masks can remain on so long as those PPE items have not been touched. 

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Kee told FOX 5 the accusations against the Leewood Healthcare Center were “unfounded.” The Virginia State Department of Health is also investigating. 

Administrator Terrance Kee wrote in a full email statement: 

“Leewood Healthcare Center is committed to protecting our residents, and staff, while keeping the public informed. Since our first confirmed COVID-19 illness, a Fairfax County Health Department nurse has worked with our team, daily, to review our isolation and infection prevention practices; including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). These practices have been routinely reviewed by the Health Department, and found to be in compliance with their guidelines, as well as those issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  We view the health department, and nursing home task force, as essential partners to help contain this illness.  We believe part of the process to stem this pandemic is to have an early warning by testing people who are not yet showing symptoms of this virus.  Last week, Leewood Healthcare Center partnered with a private lab to conduct as many COVID-19 tests as we are able to acquire. As of today, our skilled nursing community has 36 positive and 40 negative residents in-house, most of whom are asymptomatic. No assisted living residents are suspected to be affected at this time.  Leewood Healthcare Center leadership and staff will continue to collaborate with the Health Department to ensure that effective infection prevention measures are implemented and maintained. We remain up to date with the CDC recommendations as they may continue to change. As your trusted health care provider, employer, and community partner, we pledge to provide you with updated information to our evolving situation daily through a hotline, along with frequent email, blog and Facebook postings.”