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Category Archives: Life Safety Code / Recalls

Holidays & Decorating

It is that time of year when people are decorating their homes and businesses with festive décor and anticipating upcoming holiday celebrations.  Residents and staff in your care home also look forward to festivities and enjoy holiday decorations.  It is important for residents, staff and visitors to carry on traditions and to feel a sense of joy and peace we all want this time of year.

The Section for Long-Term Care Regulation (SLCR) wants to help you and your residents have a safe holiday season by sending out the following safety tips, references and regulatory reminders.

Fires or other accidents are not something anyone wants!

Safe decorations include:

  • Artificial Christmas trees and decorations that are non-combustible or flame retardant.
  • UL approved decorative lighting (use in supervised areas and turn off when not in use).
  • UL approved outdoor lighting.
  • Holiday decorations, including evergreen wreaths, ornaments, photos, etc. can be used on resident’s doors, and in hallways, as long as they do not exceed 3 ½” in depth and they are not blocking the entrances or exits.*

*Any combustible decorations hung from doors or walls in corridors may be used with a waiver. Non-rated combustible decorations cannot exceed 20% of the wall space in an exit egress corridor.

Although the 2000 Edition National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101® Life Safety Code (LSC) is the official reference, the 2012 Edition contains some less restrictive requirements.  Please refer to the CMS memo regarding waivers here: CMS Memo S&C 13-58-LSC 2000 Edition National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101® Life Safety Code (LSC) Waivers, or visit the CMS website at www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertificationGenInfo/Policy-and-Memos-to-States-and-Regions.html.

Prohibited decorations include displays, hangings, and other decorations that block exits, visibility of exits, or fire protection appliances.  Never hang decorations from fire sprinkler heads or pipes.

NFPA 101, Section 19.7.5.4: Combustible decorations shall be prohibited in any health care occupancy unless they are flame retardant.

NFPA 101, Section 7.1.10.1: Means of egress shall be continuously maintained free of all obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency.

NFPA 101, Section 7.1.10.2.1: No furnishings, decorations, or other objects shall obstruct exits, access thereto, egress therefrom, or visibility thereof.

Please note, some county or city local ordinances may also require compliance with more restrictive standards, including the International Fire Code (IFC).

  •  F323:  Electrical Safety – Any electrical device, whether or not it needs to be plugged into an electric outlet, can become hazardous to the residents through improper use or improper maintenance.  Electrical equipment such as electrical cords can become tripping hazards.  Halogen lamps or heat lamps can cause burns or fires if not properly installed away from combustibles in the resident environment.  The Life Safety Code prohibits the use of portable electrical space heaters in resident areas.
  • Extension cords may be used on a TEMPORARY basis.  For information regarding the use of extension cords, please visit the SLCR website at http://health.mo.gov/safety/ltcqa/questionsandanswers.php#no13.
  •  Can candles be used in nursing homes under supervision, in sprinklered facilities?

CMS Memo S&C-07-07: Nursing Home Culture Change Regulatory Compliance Questions and Answers

Answer:  Regarding the request to use candles in sprinklered facilities under staff supervision, National Fire Protection Association data shows candles to be the number one cause of fires in dwellings.  Candles cannot be used in resident rooms, but may be used in other locations where they are placed in a substantial candle holder and supervised at all times while they are lighted.  Lighted candles are not to be handled by residents due to the risk of fire and burns.

This holiday season consider using battery-operated flameless candles.  They look and smell real!

We wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season.  If you have any questions regarding the Life Safety Code, please contact SLCR at 573-526-8610.

CMS Memo S&C 14-46-LSC: Categorical Waiver for Power Strips Use in Patient Care Areas

Memo Summary:

  • Categorical Waiver:  CMS has determined that the 2000 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101® Life Safety Code (LSC) contains provisions on the use of power strips in health care facilities that may result in unreasonable hardship for providers or suppliers.  Further, an adequate alternative level of protection may be achieved by compliance with the 2012 edition of the LSC, which has extended allowances on the use of power strips in patient care areas.

 

  • CMS is permitting a categorical waiver to allow for the use of power strips in existing and new health care facility patient care areas, if the provider/supplier is in compliance with all applicable 2012 LSC power strip requirements and with all other 2000 LSC electrical system and equipment provisions.

 

  •  Resident rooms in long-term care or other residential care facilities that do not use line-operated electrical appliances for diagnostic, therapeutic, or monitoring purposes are not subject to the more restrictive NFPA 99 requirements regarding the use of power strips in patient care areas/rooms.  Resident rooms using line-operated patient-care-related electrical equipment in the patient care vicinity must comply with the NFPA 99 power strip requirement and may elect to utilize this categorical waiver.

 

  • Individual waiver applications are not required:  Providers and suppliers are expected to have written documentation that they have elected to use the waiver.  A provider or supplier must notify the LSC survey team at the entrance conference that it has elected the use the waiver permitted under this guidance and that it meets the applicable waiver requirements. The survey team will review the information and confirm the facility meets the conditions for the waiver.

Please see the complete memo here or visit www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertificationGenInfo/Policy-and-Memos-to-States-and-Regions-Items/Survey-and-Cert-Letter-14-46.html?DLPage=1&DLFilter=14-46&DLSort=3&DLSortDir=ascending.

Most Frequently Cited Deficiencies Report – Second Quarter 2014

Please view the quarterly report from the Section for Long-Term Care Regulation here:  Most Frequently Cited Deficiencies Report Second Quarter 2014

New Generations Quarterly Newsletter – Spring 2014

The Section for Long-Term Care Regulation has published New Generations – Volume 12, Issue 2, Spring 2014.

A complimentary color copy will be distributed via regular mail to each licensed home in Missouri. The spring issue is now available on the Department’s website, along with an archive of previous issues.  Please visit http://health.mo.gov/seniors/nursinghomes/providerinfo.php.

Most Frequently Cited Deficiencies Report – First Quarter 2014

Please view the quarterly report from the Section for Long-Term Care Regulation here: Most Frequently Cited Deficiencies Report First Quarter 2014.

CMS Proposes Adoption of Updated Life Safety Code

To view this complete announcement from CMS, please visit www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2014-Fact-sheets-items/2014-04-14.html.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a proposed rule on the adoption of updated life safety code (LSC) that CMS would use in its ongoing work to ensure the health and safety of all patients, family, and staff in every provider and supplier setting.  The updated code contains new provisions that are vital to the health and safety of all patients and staff.

A key priority of CMS is to ensure that patients and staff continue to experience the highest degree of safety possible, including fire safety.  CMS intends to adopt the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2012 editions of the (LSC) and the Health Care Facilities Code (HCFC).  This would reduce burden on health care providers, as the 2012 edition of the LSC also is aligned with the international building codes and would make compliance across codes much simpler for Medicare and Medicaid-participating facilities.

PUBLIC INPUT INVITED:

To view the proposed rule you may visit www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/04/16/2014-08602/medicare-and-medicaid-programs-fire-safety-requirements-for-certain-health-care-facilities.  PDF format is available for download in the right-hand column or click here.

View CMS Memo S&C: 14-21-LSC issued April 18, 2014 here:  www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertificationGenInfo/Policy-and-Memos-to-States-and-Regions-Items/Survey-and-Cert-Letter-14-21.html.

QIPMO Newsletter – January/February 2014

QIPMO’s newsletter MDS Tips and Clinical Pearls – Volume 1, Issue 2 is now available online.  Topics include Multidrug-Resistant Organisms (MDROs); MDS Coding – Sections I and O; and features Dave Walker’s Questions from the Field.  Please visit www.nursinghomehelp.org/qipmo.html.