Iowa Facility Issued Citation for Second Death in Fifteen Months
Northridge Village of Ames, a nursing home facility in central Iowa, was cited this week for contributing to the death of a resident in its care. It is not the first time this facility has been issued a citation of this kind.
Just last year, in June 2021, Northridge was cited for contributing to the death of a resident who had a fall at the facility and later died.
The state has assessed a $13,000 fine against the facility for this latest violation. However, the fine has since been suspended to allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to consider whether other penalties should also be imposed.
Resident’s Death Due to an Untreated Urinary Tract Infection
On September 9, 2022, according to the Iowa Capital Dispatch, the state inspector’s report says that a male resident at Northridge complained about being in pain and feeling cold. Just days before, the urine output of this same resident was dark and had a strong odor. He was also suffering from hallucinations. These are all common indications of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Inspectors say that one of the nurse’s aides at the facility also noticed there was a discharge – yet another symptom of a possible UTI.
A few days later, on September 13, this same resident was found upright in his recliner. His mouth was open, but he was not able to respond to any questions. The resident was transported to a nearby hospital for an emergency assessment of his condition. Doctors determined he was hypoxic. His oxygen saturation level was far below the normal range and he had an increased white blood cell count (reportedly two to five times what is normal). His kidney function at that time was already in decline.
The resident’s condition quickly deteriorated over the next five days, resulting in sepsis, respiratory failure, brain swelling and an acute kidney injury. The resident died on September 18. The cause of death was listed as sepsis resulting from a UTI.
Did Other Workers Know About the Resident’s Condition?
Inspectors interviewed an aide who says she told a nurse about the resident’s condition numerous times. She says she specifically said the man had dark urine and that he was showing signs of increased confusion – both of which often accompany an advanced UTI.
One of the registered nurses at Northridge told inspectors he knew about the symptoms but did not report them to either the nurse practitioner at the facility or the physician since several other staff members were already aware of the man’s condition.
Northridge Cited for 12 State and Federal Violations
Northridge was also in violation for having insufficient nursing staff. Inspectors examined call-light response times for four residents at the facility within a 24-hour period and found them to be substandard. During that timeframe, there were seven instances where the residents had to wait between 18 and 34 minutes for staff to respond and help them.
It is also worth mentioning that this latest resident death is not the only incident caused by the facility’s failure to respond to a resident. In June 2021, a female resident fell and broke her hip while being improperly transferred to the bathroom. She died three weeks later.
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