A nurse accused of confining an elderly woman to a wheelchair keeps her driver’s license

An Iowa nurse accused of tying an elderly woman to her wheelchair with a bed sheet retains her license but must complete 30 hours of patient management training.

Last month, the Iowa Board of Nursing filed a combined indictment and final order in a case involving Valerie Archer of Corydon. According to the board, Archer committed an act that may have compromised a patient’s health.

The board alleges that while she was working at an unspecified nursing facility on Dec. 11, 2021, Archer “put a sheet around a resident,” which acted as restraint.

The Board documents do not provide any further details on the incident. However, nursing facility inspection reports from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals indicate that the incident occurred at Corydon Specialty Care and was being treated as a case of dependent adult abuse.

The Department of Inspection believed the incident was serious enough to warrant a resident abuse charge, and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined the home $41,605.

State inspectors claimed a resident of Corydon Specialty Care, who suffered from dementia and had severe cognitive problems, was “tied up with a sheet while in a wheelchair” to restrain her and that it was only for the convenience of staff happened.

A home worker had reported that Archer and another nurse were standing in the dining room next to a resident in a wheelchair, complaining that they weren’t getting all their work done that shift. The two nurses asked someone to bring them a sheet. The social worker later saw the resident in the dining room tied to her wheelchair with a bed sheet surrounding her legs and chest, preventing her from getting up.

Another employee later reported seeing the woman struggling to free herself and told inspectors that she and a colleague had difficulty untying the knots on the sheet. A worker at the home took a photo that reportedly showed the woman with the sheet between and around her legs.

The two accused nurses denied tying up the resident and said the woman may have become tangled in the sheet after they placed it on her, according to the inspectors’ report.

Speaking to state inspectors, the administrator allegedly admitted that the worker who took the photo was asked to delete it, adding that she did not keep a copy of the photo as evidence.

The Iowa Board of Nursing requires Archer to complete 30 hours of training in handling difficult patients. Your license remains active.

Further actions of the care committee

Other Iowa nurses recently sanctioned by the board include:

Kellie Jo Allison from Ankeny, who was criminally charged with stealing patient medication. Allison worked at Martina Place Assisted Living as the director of care. According to court records, she was accused in February 2020 of diverting hydrocodone and oxycodone pills from two residents and then altering medical records to hide the theft.

In August 2021, Allison was criminally charged with two counts of drug diversion and a tampering with medical records. Two months later, she pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining a drug through fraud or deception, and the other charges were dropped. She was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence of $1,000. If she successfully completes her probationary period, the court record will be erased in accordance with a deferred judgment issued by the court.

Last month, the Iowa Board of Nursing filed a combined indictment, settlement agreement and final order against Allison alleging that she was convicted of a felony directly related to the nursing profession. As part of this settlement, Allison agreed to relinquish her license. She can apply for reinstatement in a year.

Rebecca George from West Burlington, who was charged in April with failing to properly document the disposal of patient medication; committing an act that may adversely affect a patient’s health; and failure to assess or document a patient’s condition.

The board claimed the violations took place at an unspecified care facility where George worked in 2019 and 2020. The board placed George’s license on probation for six months and ordered her to complete 30 hours of continuing education in medical documentation.

In 2017, the board accused her of “spilling some liquid morphine” intended for a nursing home resident and failing to report the matter. The board ordered her to complete a five-hour customer service training course.

In January 2019, George was arrested for domestic violence. The charges were dismissed by prosecutors after she completed drug abuse treatment.

Stacey Tams of Council Bluffs, who was charged by the board with knowingly allowing someone to practice nursing. According to the board, Tams was working for an unidentified “health care system” in July 2019 when the health care system acquired an unidentified clinical practice. This practice had one person on staff who had graduated from nursing school but was not licensed.

Tams allegedly allowed the person to practice as a registered nurse, knowing she didn’t have a license. At the time of the alleged incident, Tams was employed at the Methodist Physicians Clinic of Council Bluffs, according to the Methodist Health System website.

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