SANFORD, Maine — A nursing home where maggots were found on a resident this week has had problems in the past with sanitation and safety.

Staff at the Newton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, a 74-bed nursing home affiliated with Goodall Hospital, found maggot larvae on a resident during a routine skin check. The Newton Center reported the incident to the state Department of Health and Human Services on Monday, according to department spokesman John Martins.

DHHS officials planned to visit the July Street nursing home Thursday.

The larvae were discovered within 12 hours of a previous skin check on the resident, according to hospital spokeswoman Patty Charvat. The resident, whose name was not released for privacy reasons, is in good health and had no wound or infection, she said.

“It wasn’t in the room, it was just on the skin,” she said of the larvae. “It was at its earliest stage.”

Newton Center staff immediately contacted the facility’s physician to care for the patient, checked other residents, cleaned and investigated the rest of the facility, and notified state officials and employees, Charvat said.

No other larvae were found and she said she knew of no other incidents involving larvae at the nursing home.

“We are very concerned about this situation and we are confident that this is an isolated incident,” she said.

An annual inspection of the Newton Center conducted in September through the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found a number of deficiencies at the nursing home, though none related to larvae.

The report said dirt and food debris were found on several bedside tables and wheelchairs and in a hallway sitting area. Floor mats in one room were covered in dirt and caked-on food.

The surveyor also found broken window blinds, loose wire hanging from the ceiling in two rooms, and hallways cluttered with equipment.

“Based on observation and interview, the facility failed to ensure a safe, functional, sanitary, and comfortable environment for residents, staff and the public,” the report states.

The facility also fell short of minimum nurse-to-resident ratios for four shifts during a two-week period.

Charvat said Newton Center has resolved the issues and been cleared by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The deficiencies were not related to this week’s incident, she said.

Nursing home facilities are subject to unannounced annual reviews, plus additional inspections if problems turn up, said Richard Erb, president and CEO of the Maine Health Care Association, which represents Maine nursing homes and assisted living and residential care facilities.

Because Maine is stringent in enforcing federal nursing home inspection requirements, only about 10 percent of facilities in the state emerge from their annual review with no deficiencies, Erb said.

“There are very few deficiency-free surveys, particularly in Maine,” he said.

The September inspection found 14 deficiencies at Newton Center, some as minor as chipped paint. The average number of deficiencies in Maine is 4.8, compared with 7.4 nationally, according to a Medicare nursing home comparison website.

“Nursing homes are concerned about any deficiency, but the scope and severity dictates the corrective actions that are necessary,” Erb said.

In the last decade, Erb said he has heard of only one other larval problem at a nursing home in the state, at a different facility about two years ago.

“[Newton Center] handled the situation well once it came to their attention,” he said.

Newton Center has not been fined in the last three years, according to Medicare data on the nursing home.

DHHS staff will write up a report following Thursday’s inspection, though Martins did not expect it to be complete right away.

“It does take a bit of time,” he said.

Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and...