Nursing Home Faces Over $900,000 in Fines for Alleged Abuse
An Iowa nursing home in Taylor County was issued over $900,000 in fines for the abuse of one of its residents. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) imposed these fines against Lenox Care Center in Taylor County following the findings of recent state inspections.
In August 2022, state records show that one of the registered nurses at the facility was seen forcefully handling a wandering resident. Workers who observed the incident say the accused nurse roughly dragged the resident in through one of the facility’s exit doors and forcefully tied her to a chair.
The Victim Was Cognitively Impaired and a Wander Risk
According to a news report, inspectors say the victim, an elderly female, suffered from cognitive impairment. Her condition is, according to the report, most likely the result of a stroke and a brain tumor. These medical conditions made the resident a known wander risk.
On the night the victim was allegedly abused, August 20, she was attempting to leave the facility.
The registered nurse was heard calling out to the resident. When the elderly victim failed to respond, the nurse became physical.
Workers who witnessed the incident say the nurse grabbed the woman forcefully by her arm, pulling her backward and dragging her into one of the resident common areas. As she did this, the woman cried out and screamed at the nurse, saying, “Ow, stop, you are hurting me… You are abusing me; I know my rights.”
Co-workers then saw the accused nurse take away the victim’s walker. When the victim fell to the floor, the accused nurse left her there.
The Registered Nurse Allegedly Tied the Resident to a Chair
The workers who observed the incident say the accused nurse ordered a certified nursing assistant (CNA) to go get a bed sheet. The nurse forcefully pushed the resident, now hysterical, into a chair. The nurse then ordered the CNA to continue holding the victim down. By this time, the victim was screaming and visibly fighting to get out of the chair. The nurse tied the woman’s legs to the chair so she could not get out of it.
Nursing Home Administrator Not Notified for Two Days
Although the workers who saw what happened quickly notified the director of nursing about what had happened, the incident did not get reported to the administrator for two days. The director of nursing admitted that she should not have delayed reporting the incident. She said she had not previously experienced this type of event and did not know how to react.
As a result of not immediately reporting the incident, the accused nurse was able to continue working at the facility and with the alleged victim for an additional two days.
CMS Imposes Fines Against the Facility
The state inspectors who investigated the incident did not note in their report whether any of the workers involved received disciplinary action. The state issued $10,000 in fines against Lenox Care Center.
The fines assessed by the state, however, were held in suspension to allow CMS to further assess the situation and determine what federal action was appropriate. In the end, CMS decided on two fines – $13,695 and $360 – for each day the facility remained out of compliance with federal regulations. The fines assessed totaled $909,600.
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