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Nursing Home Abuse in Iowa

Sexual Nursing Home Abuse in Iowa

March 30, 2012

In a case of sexual nursing home abuse, an employee at Salem Lutheran Nursing Home in Elk Horn, Iowa is accused of taking a nude photo of an elderly resident at the nursing home. The female worker faces a misdemeanor charge of invasion of privacy.

The woman allegedly took the picture while the elderly resident was bathing and sent the picture to another employee via a cell phone message. The recipient of the photo reported the picture to the nursing home administrators.

The woman who took the photo was arrested but released on bail. Her court date has yet to be determined.

Shelby County Chief Deputy Sheriff Rod McMurphy said the situation is rare and not something they see very much.

Nursing home abuse can take a variety of forms. Sexual abuse in nursing homes, although particularly heinous, happens quite frequently across the country.

Abuse in any form needs to be reported to the police immediately. We also recommend you get in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer and go over your legal options.


Severe Fines for Iowa Nursing Home Accused of Sexual Abuse

June 13th, 2010

A nursing home in Iowa is facing up to $92,400 in state and federal fines. The Windmill Manor nursing home in Coralville, IA is looking at a number of accusations, most notably covering up the sexual nursing home abuse of a female resident. The penalties are some of the most severe an Iowa care facility has ever seen.

State records indicate a male and female resident were found naked in bed together, and a month later workers witnessed the two having intercourse in the male residents room. The female resident has Alzheimer’s Disease, therefore making her unable to give informed consent to having sex.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals alleges that the nursing home’s director of nursing told staff members not to report the incident if they wanted to keep their jobs. One staff member has said the director of nursing warned her to not report the incident as it would lead to fines.

A physician ordered the male resident a medication to decease his sex drive, but the incident was not reported to the state. Staff at the nursing home are considered mandatory reporters of abuse, and are required by law to report any suspected abuse.

Other fines against the nursing home include $5,000 for threatening to fire seven employees if they reported quality-of-care concerns; $7,000 for failing to complete required background checks on employees, and not properly training staff; and over $40,000 in federal fines, which are going up $200 a day for each day the nursing home remains out of compliance for nursing home care.

The Windmill Manor has, for the past three months, been on the federal list of the nation’s worst nursing homes.


Nursing Home Abuse and Sexual Exploitation Surfaces in Iowa

October 30, 2012

A nursing home in Iowa has been cited and fined after failing to report alleged sexual exploitation by a staff member.

State reports indicate that in July, a female nurse at the Regency Care Center, in Norwalk, was entering the room of a male nursing home patient, and performing acts such as kissing and sexual contact. The nurse allegedly pulled the patient’s curtain closed before they engaged in the inappropriate behavior, but witnesses heard sounds of the two kissing. The nurse, who hasn’t been identified, warned another nursing home resident not to tell on her. However, the incident was reported and the nurse was fired by Regency Care Center’s administrator, Indie Miller.

Miller, however, failed to report the incident to state inspectors. When questioned, Miller stated that the act was consensual. Regardless, in the state of Iowa, both consensual and nonconsensual sexual contact between a patient and employee is illegal, and is considered nursing home abuse. As a result, Regency Care Center was fined $500 for failing to report the incident, in addition to a $3,000 fine for failure to provide its residents with the required care.

The $3,000 fine stemmed from an incident when another patient was found lifeless in front of a television. According to state reports, the patient was a diabetic, yet the staff failed to check his blood sugar and provide appropriate care. In addition to the fines, the nursing home may also face civil charges should the family of the residents seek a nursing home abuse lawyer and file a lawsuit.


Iowa Woman Arrested for Theft; Nursing Home Abuse

June 17, 2013

A West Des Moines, Iowa woman was arrested this week after allegedly stealing from her father, a handicapped resident of a local nursing home. Per Iowa state laws, financial exploitation of any kind against the elderly is considered a form of nursing home abuse.

According to the police report, 45-year-old Mary Jo Dahms was in charge of her father’s finances after he moved into the Newton nursing home in Newton. However, instead of taking care of his finances, Dahms reportedly stole thousands of dollars out of his bank account. Dahms’ brother reported the incident back in February of this year, claiming that his sister had been exploiting their elderly 77-year-old dad. Allegedly, the abuse happened for two years, from 2011 to 2013.

An arrest warrant was issued shortly after, but Dahms just recently turned herself in on Thursday to police in Des Moines. She is now released on bond.

Dahms faces a class D felony of dependent adult abuse and a class C felony of first-degree theft. Should her family file a lawsuit, she may also face civil charges as well.

Keep in mind that if you or a loved one have been victim to nursing home abuse, whether by a staff member, family member, caregiver, or acquaintance, an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can assist you. Nursing home abuse attorneys have helped numerous clients go on to win the justice they deserve. Call today for a free consultation.


Iowa Pushes for Nursing Home Abuse Reports to be Made Public

September 8, 2011

Currently in Iowa nursing home inspections reports–which would detail reports of nursing home abuse or neglect–are not made public, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is working to change that.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, which handles nursing home inspections, says that reports cannot be made public unless the federal government allows access.

Randall Wilson, legal director of the ACLU of Iowa, wrote a letter to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals in which he questions why the federal government should have control over inspection records when Iowa’s inspections program is not federally funded and is instead supported entirely by the state.

Wilson says a large part of his group’s mission is to push for freedom of information and open records. He calls the state inspection department hiding behind the federal government “totally dysfunctional”.

In addition to groups like the ACLU of Iowa fighting for people’s rights, a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you and your family explore your legal rights if nursing home abuse happens.


Iowa Nursing Homes Reimbursed for Fighting Nursing Home Abuse Cases

June 27, 2011

The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa reports that Iowa nursing homes are reimbursed for legal fees associated with fighting nursing home abuse or neglect cases–regardless of whether they are found guilty of abuse.

Nursing homes file reports that detail revenue and expenses and can claim expenses such as professional services including any legal fees they may have accumulated.

Iowa Department of Human Services spokesman Roger Munns says nursing homes defending themselves in abuse cases is considered an allowable cost since nursing homes are allowed under federal law to appeal abuse allegations made by regulators.

The job of a nursing home abuse lawyer is to protect nursing home residents and bring about justice when abuse or neglect has occurred. And while nursing homes certainly have a right to defend themselves against abuse allegations, it seems unfair that tax payer money should be used toward defense fees when a nursing home has been found guilty of nursing home abuse.


Iowa Nursing Home Fined for Repeated Sexual Nursing Home Abuse

November 17th, 2010

The Abington on Grand Nursing Home in Ames, Iowa has been fined $6000 for not protecting residents from repeated sexual nursing home abuse. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals said the mentally disabled residents of the nursing home were subjected to sexual abuse and threats of violence.

One of the alleged abusers was a resident who was court ordered to the nursing home. The staff had documented numerous times the man’s sexual abuse of other residents, as well as his threats to kill people. One staff member told investigators she saw the man having sex with another resident but was told by the nurse in charge to just keep an eye on the two.

Investigators were also told by a staff member that a female resident with a severe mental impairment had been caught having sex with residents but the situation was laughed off by other staff members.

Records show that staff had reported that another mentally impaired man with a history of promiscuous behavior was approaching female residents with sexual intent and then taking them back to his room. Because of the man’s history of having sex with prostitutes he was tested for HIV but the results were negative.

The owner of the Abington on Grand who was fined the $6000 said he has nothing to do with how the facility is run.

“I’m just the owner,” he said. “The company I have is just the owner of the real estate. We have nothing to do with the operation.”


Iowa Nursing Home Abuse Inspector Money ‘Not Needed’

August 27, 2011

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals says the money they convinced lawmakers they needed in order to rehire 10 nursing home inspectors in now no longer needed. The total amount awarded was $650,000 which will now be spent elsewhere, which has nursing home advocates crying foul.

John Tapscott, a former state lawmaker and current nursing home advocate said the decision is an outrage.

“This just goes to show you that it’s the nursing home industry that is running our state inspections department,” said Tapscot.

David Werning, spokesman for Inspections and Appeals, said the department has become more efficient and adding 10 nursing home inspectors is not necessary. Werning says some inspections are now handled by nurses.

Lawmakers who support the hiring of 10 inspectors say the inspections department agreed to hire the additional inspectors and doing so is a vital step in assuring families that the government is looking out for their loved ones in nursing homes.

Having adequate nursing home inspectors in crucial in the fight against nursing home abuse. Also important in protecting our loved ones in nursing homes is contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect abuse or neglect.


Iowa Jury Orders Nursing Home to Pay $491,747 in Nursing Home Abuse Case

November 24th, 2010

In a nursing home abuse case, an Iowa jury has awarded $491,747 to the estate of a man who died following an accident at Grinnell’s Friendship Manor Care Center.

In June 2009, Wilbur Jackson, 89, was strapped into a gurney as he was being taken to a nearby hospital for tests. As the gurney was being moved outside one of the wheels hit a crack in the walkway, flipping the gurney over. Jackson’s head hit the pavement, causing him to lapse into a coma from which he never recovered. Jackson died the following month.

The family sued the nursing home and Midwest Ambulance. The jury concluded that 90 percent of the fault was on the nursing home who was ordered to pay $491,747. The other 10 percent of the blame went to Midwest Ambulance who has to pay $54,639.

“It was a tragic accident,” Patrick McNulty, the Des Moines attorney for Midwest Ambulance, said. “Obviously, the jury found the lion’s hare of fault was with Friendship Manor, but we accept that share of the responsibility the jury gave us.”


Iowa Administrator Faces Nursing Home Abuse Charge

June 19, 2013

A nursing home administrator at a Pomeroy, Iowa nursing home faces sanctions this week after being accused of nursing home abuse.

According to reports, Susan Juilfs, former administrator at the Pomeroy Care Center, has been charged with unprofessional conduct after failing to protect nursing home residents from another resident, 84-year-old William Cubbage.

Cubbage previously lived in the Iowa Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders after being convicted of four felony sexual abuse charges against children. In 2010, after serving seven years at the unit, Cubbage was sent to live at Pomeroy Care Center. While at the nursing home, in August of 2011, an 8-year-old girl who was visiting a loved one at the facility witnessed Cubbage sexually fondling a female resident. Reportedly, the female resident was screaming “no” as Cubbage held her down in her bed.

Loved ones of the victim are now suing Pomeroy Care Center for failing to protect the victim. Cubbage readily confessed to the crime, yet, no criminal charges have been filed. Instead, he may be sent back to the his previous home at the sex offender unit.

Meanwhile, another sex offender has been determined to also reside at the nursing home. John Steimkamp, 79, has three previous sexual abuse convictions. He has been living at Pomeroy Care Center since 2012.

If your loved one has been victim to nursing home abuse, you’ll need a dedicated nursing home abuse attorney by your side. Nursing home abuse lawyers have helped an array of clients get the justice they’re entitled to. Call today for a free consultation.


Elder Advocacy Group Says Iowa Government is Causing Nursing Home Abuse

September 4, 2011

Disability Rights Iowa, a group that advocates for disabled people of Iowa, says that Governor Terry Branstad’s decision to reduce state nursing home inspectors is allowing for abuse and neglect of nursing home residents and has even contributed to the deaths of residents.

The group’s executive director, Sylvia Piper, wrote in an open letter to Branstad that the lack sufficient nursing home inspectors is causing people to suffer and die on a regular basis. She also invited Branstad to tour Iowa nursing homes with her and see first hand the nursing home abuse and neglect that takes place.

A spokesman for Branstad said the Governor says the current inspection department is doing great work and he is proud of them.

Controversy over this issue came after 10 nursing home inspectors and two abuse prosecutors’ jobs were eliminated as part of budget cuts. But when lawmakers saw the need for the inspector positions money was raised to restore the positions; however, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals then said the money was not needed and spent it elsewhere.

You can help fight nursing home abuse by contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer if you or a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home.


Low Quality Ratings and Nursing Home Abuse

March 19, 2012

The Des Moines Register recently reported that two Iowa nursing homes received low federal quality ratings, with one facility getting one star and another nursing home receiving only two out of five stars.

Windmill Manor is the facility that received one star and Iowa City Rehab and Health Care got two stars. Windmill Manor has had a troubled inspection history lately receiving multiple federal and state penalties. Iowa City Rehab and Health Care did not fare well with it’s health inspection scores.

Nursing homes that have low quality ratings are certainly facilities that nursing home residents and their loved ones need to be wary of. However, even nursing homes with high quality ratings are still at risk for nursing home abuse and neglect issues.

If you or a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home we strongly advise you to seek the legal consultation of a nursing home abuse lawyer.