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Big Problems in Iowa Nursing Homes

Several Iowa nursing homes are under fire for a rash of recent deaths and injuries, according to a report by the Des Moines Register this week.

Five deaths and numerous injuries have been reported at nine different Iowa facilities, and the state system appears to be perpetuating the poor quality of care with lack of government enforcement and fines that won’t make much of a dent in homes’ bank accounts.

On top of staffing shortages at individual nursing homes, the state government also refuses to add more ombudsman. Gov. Terry Branstad vetoed legislation earlier this year that would have added two more long-term care ombudsmen to the current staff of eight.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that states have one long-term care ombudsman for every 2,000 nursing home residents, which means Iowa would need at least 13 to take proper care of its 25,000 residents (a number reported by the Register).

When nursing homes are cited for failing to provide proper care — as was the case at the nine homes in question — the fines are often too lenient. The Des Moines Register reports that in two cases where the state attempted to impose $10,000 fines, federal officials intervened and the penalties were reduced to $5,395.

The individual cases include:

  • A lack of emergency response for a 62-year-old male resident who was bleeding from the mouth after a drug injection. The man was found dead two hours later.
  • A male resident who passed away after contracting an infection from a catheter insertion.
  • A male resident who died after an unsupervised fall at an understaffed facility.

… and several others. To read more about the issues in Iowa, click here.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a care facility, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.