Nursing Home Ratings Can Be Deceiving

The Center for Medicare Services (CMS) has a rating system that they use to help people decide upon the best nursing homes for their loved ones. Ratings from 1 to 5 stars are given based upon certain criteria, which includes inspections and reports of abuse or neglect. This might seem like a good system to utilize when making a decision regarding long-term care for a loved one. However, the ratings may not be all that they seem, as the Des Moines Register reports.

The Timely Mission Nursing Home in Buffalo, Center Iowa has the highest possible CMS rating for resident care.

This is despite findings that indicate that staff verbally and physically abused residents last year.

Most recently, the death of one of their residents, 87-year-old Virginia Olthoff, brought their capacity to care into question.

Olthoff moved into Timely Mission in 2002 at 72-years-old. Staff told inspectors that in the days before her death, Olthoff was crying and moaning in pain. A nurse allegedly “blew off” reports that indicated Olthoff was in increasing pain.

Early on February 27th, staff members noticed that Olthoff’s eyes had a sunken appearance. Her feet were blue and they were unable to get a pulse or a blood-pressure reading. Despite this, nearly three hours passed before Olthoff was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

An emergency room physician said that laboratory tests indicated that Olthoff had not had any fluids for four to five days prior to arriving at the hospital. The tests also indicated that she might have had limited fluids for a few weeks.

The doctor said that Olthoff was comatose when she arrived but was awake and responsive after receiving a liter of fluids. She was discharged back to Timely Mission later that day and died the same afternoon.

The state has cited Timely Mission for failure to address resident needs in the case of Olthoff and another resident who was discovered dead in bed just an hour before Olthoff passed away.