Iowa Long-Term Care Facility Under Criminal Investigation
A nursing home in southern Iowa is the subject of a criminal investigation into the treatment of residents living at the facility. This inspection comes following incidents that happened last year involving two residents at Windsor Place, a nursing home facility in Keokuk County, Iowa. What is less clear is whether or not the investigation is for one or both incidents.
Allegations against the facility include dependent-adult abuse as well as fraud.
Male Resident Evicted With Nowhere to Go
In an incident last August, a male resident was allegedly badgered by the facility’s administrator, Aimee K. Crow who wanted him to agree to share a room. Staff also tried to force him to have a roommate. The resident, however, did not want to share his living quarters with anyone.
Reportedly, there was no need to double up living spaces as the facility had vacant rooms. However, staff members believe this action was taken as part of ongoing efforts to have Medicaid patients share rooms to make space on private insurance – these residents are more profitable for the facility.
Crow repeatedly tried to convince this resident to agree to share his living space. One of the social workers informed state inspectors that at one point, Crow kept interrupting the resident whenever he tried to speak, even yelling at him, “You are getting a roommate, or you are leaving against medical advice. What’s it going to be?”
When the man refused to comply, he was wheeled to an exit at the facility. Staff gathered his personal belongings, put them in garbage bags, and then dumped them outside. The resident, who is also insulin-dependent, was evicted with nowhere to go.
After being turned out of Windsor Place, the man called his nephew. He was subsequently picked up and taken to the home of his ex-wife. While there, however, the man fell down some steps and was injured badly enough to require transportation to the hospital by ambulance.
Female Resident Left in Vegetative State
Of the two incidents, the most serious allegations against Windsor Place involve its care of a female resident last November.
State records show that on the morning of November 29, 2022, the woman had gotten up earlier than was typical for her. At the time, she complained of having a severe headache. As the day went on, however, her condition got much worse.
The woman reportedly began screaming in pain and asking staff to have her taken to the hospital. Staff relayed concerns about the woman’s condition to Crow, who, in addition to being the administrator, was also the on-duty charge nurse at the time.
Despite the woman’s worsening condition, however, she was ignored. Crow failed to take appropriate action to further assess the woman’s condition, even when she began showing signs of a stroke. By the following day, the woman had become completely unresponsive. She was not able to talk, see out of her right eye or move the right side of her body.
The report does not indicate what happened after this incident. It is currently unknown whether the woman survived.
State Inspector Interviews
According to an article in the Iowa Capital Dispatch, Crow was later questioned by state investigators about both incidents.
When interviewed by state inspectors, Crow allegedly acknowledged being informed by staff about the woman’s headache and admits that she did not assess the woman’s complaints. Crow also made no effort to order a consultation with a physician or notify the woman’s family about her declining condition. However, she denies anyone telling her that the woman wanted to be taken to the hospital.
Crow was also questioned about the incident with the male resident. However, Crow told inspectors that she was the man’s niece. Inspectors asked her why she was trying to force a roommate on him when there were other rooms available. Reportedly, her response was that she could not remember because too much time had passed.
What Does the Law Say About These Incidents?
Under Iowa state law, it is a crime for caregivers to neglect patients or other individuals by failing to provide them with the care they need to protect their health. Those who purposely or recklessly commit abuse against a dependent adult are considered guilty of second-degree murder if that abuse results in death.
More specifically, in a case where dependent-adult abuse is deliberate, the perpetrator is assessed with a Class C felony. If, however, the abuse is determined to have been reckless, but not intentional, the charge may be downgraded to a Class D felony. If the victim does not suffer any physical harm, then the charge may be a serious misdemeanor.
According to the report by the Iowa Dispatch, it is rare for professionals in healthcare facilities to be charged with any wrongdoing. However, a former aide involved in another case has been charged with second-degree murder. In this situation, the aide did not check on a resident in her charge that night. Unfortunately, the 77-year-old resident wandered outside, ultimately freezing to death. This caregiver’s trial is set to begin March 6.
As for Windsor Place, Keokuk County Attorney Amber Thompson says she has received a letter about the allegations. She has not yet, however, had the case referred to her for criminal prosecution. She expects to hear some kind of follow-up once state inspectors have completed their investigation into the complaints.
PKSD is Committed to Protecting Nursing Home Residents
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If you suspect your loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect at his or her nursing home, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. If you are not sure whether you have a case, we can discuss your situation and potential legal options.
Your initial consultation is completely free and confidential. We are here to help victims of nursing home abuse or neglect in Wisconsin, New Mexico and Iowa.
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