Man Chokes to Death in Nursing Home Ranked Among Nation’s Worst

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on March 6, 2024 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights

resident in poorly ranked Iowa nursing home chokes to deathThe Aspire of Gowrie nursing home in Iowa is facing significant scrutiny after being linked to the death of a resident in January due to choking. This facility is known for repeatedly failing to provide its residents with either safe or adequate care. It is arguably among the nation’s most criticized nursing homes, having racked up 116 quality of care-related violations and 26 other complaints just since October 2022.

Aspire is one of the worst-ranked nursing nursing homes in Iowa . It has also been designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a “special-focus facility.” These facilities are among the poorest ranked in the nation.

A tragic incident in January 2024 underscored these issues when a man, known to be at risk of choking, died after being served inappropriate food. Despite previous incidents and specific dietary instructions, the man was given bread and uncut chicken, leading to his death from asphyxiation. Although a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) witnessed the man choking, she informed inspectors she did not know how to help the man.

In an article reported by the Iowa Dispatch, this incident was the latest in a series of serious lapses, including inadequate responses to residents’ needs, unsanitary conditions and neglect of basic care standards. The facility was assessed with numerous citations over the last 17 months and assessed with fines that totaled more than $300,000 as a result.

Aspire is a for-profit facility that is owned by Black Hawk Healthcare. Bruce Wertheim of Beacon Health Management, who has operational and managerial control of the company, is under scrutiny. Both federal and state bodies are considering further penalties. The facility’s persistent failures, highlighted by repeated citations for not providing a safe environment, paint a grim picture of neglect and mismanagement, calling into question the broader issues of oversight and accountability in the long-term care industry.

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