The Des Moines Register continues their excellent reporting of the problems at Iowa’s nursing homes. Five Iowa nursing homes have each been fined more than $8,000 because of allegations of resident neglect that resulted in two deaths, a leg amputation and other injuries.
The Good Samaritan Home in Indianola was fined a total of $24,500 for a series of problems involving different residents, including one who allegedly lost a leg to gangrene. The staff noticed the resident had a blister on his or her left foot on Christmas Day last year. Over the next four weeks, staff members documented the resident’s complaints of severe pain as the wound grew in size, turned black, then emitted a foul odor. On Jan. 23, the resident begged for help, telling the staff, “I want to go to the hospital. I can’t take the pain anymore.” The resident was admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of gangrene and bone infection, which resulted in the left leg being amputated above the knee. Good Samaritan was fined $10,000 for failing to adequately care for the resident.
The home was fined an additional $9,500 for failing to monitor a resident who sustained a bleeding head wound and a hip fracture after falling out of a mechanical lift. After the resident fell, the staff went to dinner or were summoned to work in the dining room. When the resident’s daughter arrived, the resident was alone, on the floor with no blanket and was bleeding from the head wound. The daughter remained by her side for the next 35 minutes until an ambulance arrived. No workers checked on the resident or provided any services.
Good Samaritan was fined an additional $5,000 for failing to prevent a serious injury. A resident of the home had fallen out of a recliner four times over a period of several weeks. The last fall resulted in a broken clavicle.
Several other Iowa care facilities have recently been fined for problems related to resident care. Among the cases:
The Keystone Nursing Care Center was fined $15,000 when a resident died six days after a series of falls there. The facility allowed the resident to fall in March, April and May. On July 12, the resident was found on the floor and taken to a local emergency room. Doctors diagnosed the resident with a skull fracture and brain bleed. The resident died on July 18, and the home was cited for failing to provide adequate supervision of residents.
Altoona Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was fined $8,000 after state inspectors reviewed 19 patient files and found that in 16 cases the home hadn’t taken adequate measures to prevent falls. In a four-month period, the home documented 133 falls. In one case, a resident was found on the floor crying out in pain, then taken to the hospital and treated for a broken leg. The resident died 10 days later.
The home’s dementia unit reportedly had only one nurse aide to care for 17 residents during an eight-hour shift, although several of the residents were incontinent, needed feeding assistance or required the help of at least two workers to get to the bathroom. Some of the alarms used to alert the staff to wandering residents weren’t working properly, the state alleged.
“I have told them about the alarms being broken,” one worker reportedly told inspectors. “It gets scary back here when you’re trying to care for two to three residents at once and alarms are going off. You can’t even call for help because you are so busy.”
Ogden Manor was fined $8,000 after staffers allegedly tried to prevent a resident’s dentist from calling 911 to summon emergency medical personnel. The resident arrived at a dentist’s office by bus and was helped inside by the driver. The dentist’s staff called Ogden Manor to report that the resident was crying, seemed to be in pain and was asking to be taken to the hospital. The Ogden Manor staff allegedly told the dentist’s staff not to call 911, adding that the resident had been like that for days and was fine. When the resident was finally admitted to a hospital, he was diagnosed with gastrointestinal bleeding, severe anemia, dehydration and a dental infection.
The Akron Care Center was fined $10,500 for allegedly failing to provide residents with a safe environment, and $2,000 for allegedly failing to provide residents with the required nursing services. One resident was hospitalized with a head injury after a fall, and another was hospitalized with bowel problems the staff had allegedly failed to assess.