A nursing home in Iowa must pay a $15,000 fine for failing to provide needed treatment to a resident who fell and suffered a head injury. The resident reportedly lay on the floor for almost an hour while staffers attended a holiday party nearby. Nursing home administrators say they plan to appeal the state’s order, and they dispute the state’s interpretation of the video, saying that investigators viewed it “out of context.”
The incident occurred during the afternoon of December 23, 2011 in the dementia unit at All-American Restorative Care in Washington, Iowa. According to state investigators who viewed footage from the facility’s video-monitoring system, a female resident stumbled backwards and fell while walking down a hallway at 2:51 p.m. No one on the staff witnessed the fall, but within seconds, two employees reportedly appeared at a nurse’s station with a view of the fallen woman. Although the woman was “barely moving,” neither staffer appears to have offered her assistance. One of the staffers reportedly told investigators later that she called to the woman to ask if she was alright, and that the woman said “Yes.” The second staffer reported that this particular resident being on the floor was a “recurring situation.”
The resident remained on the floor for another thirty minutes on the video, and then a third staffer appeared. This staffer did not offer any assistance to the resident, according to investigators. A fourth employee appeared on the video at 3:37 p.m., forty-six minutes after the fall. Three staffers enter the video two minutes later and lift the woman up, reportedly without first assessing her neurological condition, and take her to her room. One of these staffers later told investigators that the woman was “pretty out of it” at this point. Nursing home staffers took the woman to the hospital at around 5:00 p.m. for a head wound. She had a cut on the back of her head that required four staples.
Investigators viewed the video footage and spoke to staffers who witnessed parts of the incident. The state subsequently assessed the $15,000 fine, charging the nursing home with “failing to provide the necessary intervention and treatment for residents.” The nursing home’s owner disputes the state’s interpretation of the video, saying that the resident in question “had a habit of lying on the floor” and could be “combative.” He says that the situation was not out of the ordinary, which is why the staff showed little concern on the video.
Nursing homes take on an enormous responsibility by taking custody of an elder resident needing care. They therefore have a high standard of care towards their residents to provide for their daily needs. Whatever the specific circumstances of this resident, the nursing home owes a duty to provide responsive and prompt care to all residents.
Nursing homes must provide diligent care and a safe environment for their residents, and people injured when they breach this duty may be entitled to damages. The Maryland nursing home lawyers at Lebowitz and Mzhen help obtain compensation for people injured due to abuse or neglect by nursing home staff. Contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949 for a free and confidential consultation.
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Physical and Verbal Abuse, Fall-related Injuries Investigated in New York Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, August 15, 2011