Iowa Nursing Home Cited: 62 Violations Reveal Pattern of Gross Neglect
In recent months, an Iowa nursing home has been investigated for at least 25 nursing home complaints, 13 of which had been backlogged, but all of which were substantiated by state inspectors.
The investigation, led by the Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing (DIAL), revealed a disturbing pattern of gross neglect and patient mismanagement. Pine Acres Rehabilitation and Care Center was assessed with citations for a staggering 62 federal and state regulation violations.
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Nursing Home Neglect That Led to a Serious Bone Infection and Gangrene
Problems with staffing levels in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the country have been an increasing concern for years. In one particularly bad case of patient neglect at Pine Acres, a 70-year-old woman with untreated pressure sores developed gangrene. Ultimately, her leg had to be amputated at the knee. The woman believes this amputation was the result of the poor care she received before any infection set in.
Inspectors cited the facility for failing to properly assess and treat the pressure sore on the resident’s foot. Unfortunately, by the time the facility responded, the resident had to be admitted to a hospital. Once there, she was diagnosed with septic shock, gangrene and a severe bone infection, as well as blood poisoning.
The state proposed a fine of $27,750, a fine that was tripled because this incident was a repeat violation.
Pine Acres – A Pattern of Neglect, Abuse and Mismanagement
According to a recent article, the nursing home’s challenges are not limited to this one case. Inspectors found numerous instances of resident abuse and neglect at Pine Acres including:
- A resident who suffered from acute kidney failure and skin wounds due to substandard care.
- Staff who frequently ignored or failed to respond to residents’ needs, especially during night shifts.
- Reports of staff being rude to residents and engaging in loud personal conversations near their rooms.
- Staff providing minimal interaction while delivering care to residents.
- A social services assistant who recounted a case where a resident screamed in pain. Yet his call light went unanswered by staff members at the nurse’s station who ignored him.
- A resident was hospitalized with urine in her bloodstream and acute kidney failure due to unaddressed health concerns.
Inspectors also reported instances of staff being physically rough with residents, ignoring urgent calls for help, and displaying unprofessional conduct.
These individual incidents are concerning enough, but when you put the number and seriousness of these incidents together, they paint a disturbing pattern of neglect and abuse at Pine Acres.
Inspectors observed further issues during their visits, including:
- Overall medication error rate approaching 11 percent
- Cold meals being served to residents
- Expired food in the kitchen
As a result of these findings, the facility was cited for failing to meet basic care standards. They were also cited for improper drug labeling and storage.
Understaffing – A Serious and Ongoing Threat to Residents
Pine Acres has been repeatedly cited for not employing enough workers. However, this facility’s staffing issues are mirrored at many long-term care facilities across the country. Unfortunately, the issue of understaffing continues to be a nationwide issue. It is not helpful that federal attemps to impose new, stricter staffing requirements are met with opposition from government officials, like Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Facility Management Allegedly Tied to Fraudsters
The substandard care and pattern of neglect are not the only concerns under investigation at Pine Acres. Other legal issues involve the individuals who own and manage the facility. Akiko Ike, the facility’s primary owner, and Ephram Lahasky, her partner, are associated with other nursing homes that are currently involved in government fraud allegations. Lahasky is also embroiled in a lawsuit for defrauding the government of over $18 million and neglecting residents in yet another facility. This discovery raises significant concerns about the operational priorities at Pine Acres.
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Pine Acres Rehabilitation and Care Center is a stark reminder of the critical need for stringent oversight and accountability in elder care facilities. Issues like those uncovered at Pine Acres highlight the consequences of neglect and mismanagement in long-term care.
If you suspect your loved one has suffered neglect or abuse at his or her nursing home, our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys are prepared to help. We currently accept cases in Iowa, Wisconsin and New Mexico.
At PKSD, we advocate tirelessly on behalf of our injured clients, and we are prepared to help you recover the compensation you need. Call our law offices today to discuss your situation and find out if you may have legal options. Your initial case review is completely free, and there are no upfront costs or fees to pay.
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