A scabies outbreak at Longmeadow Nursing Care nursing home in south Arkansas spread throughout the facility and into the community after those in charge failed to act. According to a government report, management told nursing staff in some cases not to leave any documentation indicating they were treating residents for scabies, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Residents with scabies weren’t isolated and proper procedures were neglected, causing employees to contract the bugs that spread outside the facility. Scabies is a highly contagious skin condition caused by mites, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine. The facility neglected to treat staff members who developed scabies, which eventually spread to their relatives, according to the report.
State regulators cited the facility in July for failing to properly address a smaller infestation affecting a few residents, just weeks before the condition struck every resident at Longmeadow. A nurse told inspectors the facility didn’t document the outbreak because of instructions from higher authorities. The state Office of Long Term Care gave the violations the most severe rating.
Kelly Holland said her husband, Ralph, suffered from the scabies infestation.
“You could see where he had clawed them, trying to get to the itch,” said Holland.
She says the nursing staff tried to convince her that the itching was not caused by scabies.
“They kept saying ‘Oh it’s a side effect from one of your medications,’ … that was a lie … the whole thing was a lie,” said Holland.
“It was just torture for both me and for him,” said Holland.
Even though the facility has a way to track outbreaks like scabies, a worker told state inspectors higher’s up “Didn’t want us to document the residents had scabies on any of the paperwork, but that’s what we were treating them for.”
State records reveal that in some cases, nursing staff said they were told not to leave a paper trail and did not record whether its 28 residents received a topical cream prescribed by a physician during the December outbreak.