Ignoring Neglect and Abuse

The Iowa Capital dispatch reported on an incredible story. After investigating and confirming multiple complaints about the operation of  QHC-Mitchellville nursing home, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals refused to fine the nursing home. They just ignored the neglect and abuse.

The state inspectors visited the home in July and August and discovered the 44 residents were in immediate jeopardy but did nothing about it. The facility violated federal regulations but no fines were imposed at all. Among the problems noted by DIA’s inspectors during their August visit to the QHC home:

— Staff sleeping on duty

The home was cited for insufficient staff, a rare occurence although widespread in the industry. One resident informed inspectors that the night staff routinely sleeps during shift. The caregivers set up a bed in the front lobby for that purpose. Another resident reported seeing workers sleeping in the home’s dining room. Inspectors witnesses caregivers sleeping on the job!

— Toxic mold

The home sustained water damage and mold growth due to a leaky roof. Resident rooms had confirmed stachybotrys – better known as toxic black mold. Black mold can cause severe respiratory problems and contribute to fatigue and depression. I guess that is why the caregivers were sleeping on the job.

Inspectors observed peeling wallpaper near the ceiling. Large sections of ceiling tile had brown stains. Windowsills were “rotted, mushy and unpaintable.” Drywall was “soft and squishy.”  A “remediation technician” found mold in 80% of the building. Absolutely disgusting.

A more detailed analysis indicated the mold had been present for at least a year and that nine resident rooms as well as some common areas, were considered “Level 2” or “red” zones, indicating a need for full enclosure of those areas to prevent the movement of air.

— No licensed nurse on duty

The facility had no licensed nurse on duty for three and a half hours on June 25. Medical records at the home indicated staff weren’t putting their initials on the records to document who was providing care. It appeared that care documented in the records wasn’t actually provided by anyone.

— Bed sores left untreated

Over a period of four months, the home repeatedly failed to treat a resident’s bed sores. Without adequate treatment, pressure injuries get worse-deeper and bigger.

Last year, CMS fined the nursing home $156,003 as a result of three separate state inspections. Why do they allow this facility to remain in operation? How can they just ignore neglect and abuse?