More Family Oversight Needed Amid Rise in Nursing Home Violations

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on April 4, 2024 in Nursing Home Abuse
Updated on April 24, 2024

close up image of an elderly woman hand holding her daughter's handThe increase in citations for serious nursing home violations at several Iowa facilities is deeply concerning. It is especially alarming for families with elderly loved ones living in these long-term care facilities. These reports only underscore the need for families to assert increased oversight over their loved one’s long-term care to help ensure their safety and well-being.

Do you suspect a loved one is suffering from neglect in his or her Iowa nursing home? Have you observed unexplained injuries or falls?

PKSD is a nursing home abuse law firm based in Milwaukee. We accept cases throughout Wisconsin, as well as in Iowa and New Mexico. Our firm has decades of combined experience, and we are deeply committed to holding negligent parties accountable for their actions and protecting the elderly in long-term care.

Call to request a FREE nursing home abuse case review today. 414-333-3333

Rising Health Concerns Amid Bed Bug Infestations and Neglect of Hygiene

Fort Dodge Health and Rehabilitation Center was recently fined $6,250 for ignoring a resident’s bed bug complaints. A female resident initially complained about having a rash and itching skin, yet management at the facility waited several days – until November 8 – to respond.

Eventually, the facility treated the room, but this initial neglect allowed the woman to continue to suffer for several days. More importantly, this incident raises questions about the basic hygiene provided to residents at this facility and how the bed bug infestation occurred in the first place.

According to an Iowa news article, inspectors investigated six complaints at the facility and substantiated five of those complaints. However, there was no record of the resident’s complaint about the bed bug infestation.

Unaddressed Abuse and Medication Errors

Two other Iowa facilities, Lantern Park Specialty Care in Coralville and The Penn Center in Delhi, are being cited for failing to report or adequately address resident abuse and other serious health issues.

Lantern Park

A resident reported some prescription narcotics were missing. Following this complaint, the facility ignored the resident’s worsening condition. They also failed to report unexplained broken bones and other notable injuries. Although the resident was told the situation was being investigated, inspectors discovered that the resident’s Tramadol, a prescription pain killer, had not been reported to the director of nursing.

Four of the five investigated complaints at this nursing home were substantiated by state inspectors.

The Penn Center

Another Iowa nursing home, located in Delhi, Iowa, has been fined for its failure to properly respond to the worsening respiratory issues of one of its residents.

According to state inspectors, a male resident who had tested positive for COVID-19 suffered a worsening condition over several days. In September, his oxygen saturation levels dropped to dangerous levels. Yet none of the staff reported the resident’s worsening condition to his primary care physician. The resident suffered for several days with increasingly low oxygen saturation levels. Finally, on October 1, the man was transported to a nearby hospital emergency room. The hospital intubated him and admitted him to their intensive care unit.

Financial Priorities Ranked Above Resident Care

The Ensign Group, which owns Fort Dodge facility in Iowa, along with 290 other nursing home facilities in 13 other states, reported it had $1 billion to invest in additional nursing home acquisitions. Its CEO, Barry R Port, was paid more than $8 million in compensation, which included a bonus of $5.3 million. This information is a stark contrast to the reported state of care at Fort Dodge.

Immediate Jeopardy and Lax Hiring Practices

Opportunity Living and The Gardens of Cedar Rapids were cited for placing its residents in immediate jeopardy. These facilities were non-compliant for conducting proper background checks. This negligence unnecessarily exposed residents in their care to unnecessary risks. One resident at Opportunity Living suffered a vaginal laceration which appeared to be the result of a sexual assault.

The facility was fined for its inadequate response to the incident and failure to report that it was an apparent sexual assault. Following an inspection, the suspect was suspended. However, officers later reported that no criminal charges were being filed.

Medication Administration Errors

REM-Dalewood Drive’s was fined for a medication error. This violation further illustrates the potential dangers of inadequate staff training and oversight. Facilities are required to provide proper staff training and to oversee strict adherence to protocols to prevent medication errors, some of which could be deadly.

How Greater Family Oversight Can Help Protect Residents

These incidents serve as a stark reminder for families and individuals seeking nursing home care in Iowa. Being vigilant and actively participating in their loved one’s care can help to protect them. Being more involved gives families the ability to:

  • Closely monitor their loved ones on a daily or weekly basis
  • Regularly inspect the quality of daily care their loved ones receive
  • Carefully examine the state of their family member’s living area and basic personal hygiene
  • Remain watchful for any unexplained injuries or changes in their loved one’s behavior

Nursing home residents, especially those living in long-term care facilities, are often unable to advocate for themselves. Aging and the onset of certain medical and mental conditions often means caregivers may be unlikely to listen to them, even if they attempt to communicate something is wrong.

Do You Need Legal Justice for a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse?

If you or your loved one has been injured because of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, we strongly recommend that you seek legal help right away. Speaking with an attorney about your situation in an initial consultation is both confidential and completely free. Taking this vital step can help to protect your loved one from further harm.

At PKSD, our nursing home abuse attorneys in Wisconsin are compassionate and experienced. We have been helping injured victims for decades and have the resources to fully investigate and manage your nursing home abuse or neglect case.

We fight for the maximum possible compensation for the negligent acts of a nursing home or one of its caregivers. If we are unable to reach a settlement, we are also prepared to advocate for your loved one in a trial.

Need legal help but not sure if you have a case? Our free, initial consultation offers the opportunity to get answers to your questions and find out if you may have legal options.

PKSD. We fight to get you the results you need. 414-333-3333

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