- Associated Press - Monday, July 28, 2014

WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) - A northeast Iowa nursing home was cited for unsanitary conditions in its kitchen seven weeks before it was lauded by the governor’s office as among the best such facilities in the state, The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/UwJb0U ) reported.

The Woodland Terrace facility in Waverly was cited but not fined on May 13 for problems that included a food-preparation area that was littered with dust, debris and discarded food. Inspectors described the condition of the 126-bed care facility as “highly soiled.”

Inspectors reported several problematic areas in the Woodland Terrace kitchen, including a visibly soiled food preparation counter and three inches of an unidentified “dried substance” on the floor. Kitchen workers told inspectors they had no cleaning duties and its maintenance falls entirely on the home’s “executive chef.”

Upon their review of five Woodland Terrace residents’ diets, inspectors determined none of them had received the food they were supposed to be served based on their individual care plans.

Woodland Terrace has submitted a correction plan to the state. The facility’s CEO told inspectors that staffers have been re-educated on food service.

Gov. Terry Branstad’s office said July 9 that Woodland Terrace was one of three Iowa care facilities to receive the 2014 Governor’s Award for Quality Care in Health Care Facilities. A Florida resident whose mother lives in the home nominated it for the honor.

“The fact that the nominator’s loved one has resided in the Waverly facility for more than 13 years speaks volumes about the care provided by the Woodland Terrace staff,” Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a news release announcing the award. “While conducting an on-site evaluation of the facility’s nomination, staff from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals were approached by numerous residents who praised the dedicated personnel and caring environment at the nursing home.”

A Branstad spokesman declined to comment on the inspectors’ findings until they could be reviewed.

In 2013, state inspectors cited Woodland Terrace for inadequate infection control, saying the facility staff repeatedly failed to sanitize a glucose meter used to test blood-sugar levels. They also cited the home for the legal agreement residents had to sign, placing liability for the cost of care on the individual and his or her family members.

Barb Bridges, a spokeswoman for Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community, where Woodland Terrace is located, said the home contracted a dietary management firm and is disappointed with its performance.

“We are, however, confident that this was an isolated incident, corrections were made immediately and we are continuing to monitor closely for quality assurance,” she said.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com