Nursing home cited for stealing resident’s cat

Granger Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located in Granger in Dallas County, was fined $7,500. Recently, investigators with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals looked into allegations that employees at the home were attempting to get rid of an unnamed elderly resident’s cat.

The woman told inspectors someone had taken her cat and put it outside, although the cat did not run away. Later, the resident alleged, someone at the home took the cat and dumped it along a gravel road. The cat allegedly found its way back to the facility.   According to state records, inspectors interviewed seven employees, all of whom expressed concern that someone at the home intended to put the cat in the facility’s trash bin and kill it.

One worker allegedly told inspectors that the staff had been trying to dispose of the cat. The worker said that one night, while the resident was eating supper, she entered the resident’s room, placed the cat in a box and took it home for safekeeping. The worker said she intended to keep the cat only until she felt it could be safely returned to the nursing home.

Based on that worker’s statement, state officials cited the home for taking a resident’s property.

The Granger home has been cited for numerous other problems in recent months. Inspectors have alleged that:

A worker stole a resident’s pain medication for her own use. The worker allegedly took the resident’s Imitrix, a costly drug that is prescribed for the treatment of migraine headaches. The resident’s insurer had paid for the drug at a rate of $26 per tablet. The worker told inspectors she took the pills at the suggestion of the director of nursing. The director of nursing told inspectors she knew of only one instance in which the worker used the resident’s medication. She acknowledged that she did not report the theft to police or to state inspectors.

• As inspectors watched, a resident who was totally dependent on employees for assistance with eating was given little or no help with breakfast. At one point, the resident motioned to workers, pointing to a cereal bowl. One worker stopped and put milk and sugar on the cereal but then walked away. Twenty minutes later, the resident reached for a worker as she passed, but the worker only paused and walked away with the resident still pointing at his or her plate. A few minutes later, the resident was wheeled out of the dining room with most of the food untouched. At lunch, workers again failed to assist the resident with eating.

• One resident was mistakenly given double the amount of prescribed insulin for diabetes treatment.

• The home was cited for failing to ensure that residents had ready access to drinking water and for inadequate infection control.

• Inspectors watched workers walk through urine while providing care for one resident.

• One resident walked out of the home and was later seen by a passer-by crawling along the shoulder of a nearby highway. The passer-by alerted workers at the home, who picked up the resident and took him to a hospital for evaluation.

The Granger home has 61 residents. Federal records indicate residents of the home receive, on average, 18 minutes of daily care from a registered nurse, which is half the average of all Iowa nursing homes.