Why Are Government Officials Not Outraged by Iowa Nursing Home Abuse

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on December 26, 2023 in Nursing Home Abuse
Updated on January 5, 2024

photo representing lady justiceJournalist Clark Kauffman wrote about numerous incidents of nursing home resident abuse and neglect. The Quad-City Times published those stories in a six-part series back in 1996, revealing a disturbing pattern of neglect and abuse in Iowa nursing homes. Those articles helped to uncover many incidents of neglect and abuse that nursing home residents suffered. Some of those victims even died as a result of the injuries they sustained.

While those incidents may have occurred over 27 years ago, they greatly mirror events that are happening in Iowa’s nursing homes today. The amount of neglect and abuse still happening begs the question: Why does the government continue to allow the elderly in Iowa to be so badly mistreated?

What Are the Biggest Issues in Iowa Nursing Homes Today?

The biggest issues in Iowa nursing homes, and other nursing homes across the country, have not changed much in the last couple of decades. Largely, the biggest problems affecting long-term care facilities today continue to include:

  • Understaffing: Poor patient-staff ratios and limited staff credentials greatly contribute to higher incidents of abuse and neglect in nursing homes.
  • Reporting and accountability challenges: Only an estimated 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse each year ever get reported to authorities. Often victims are afraid of their abusers and intimidated into silence out of fear of retaliation or that their basic needs will not be met. Other victims may have medical, physical or mental conditions that prevent them from being able to speak up. Sometimes even when a victim does speak up, his or her report may not be ignored because of their medical condition or mental state.
  • High turnover rate/staff burnout: Caregivers who continue to work in nursing homes despite staffing shortages and low pay often experience burnout. Burnout is another serious problem that increases the risk of neglect and abuse of nursing home residents.
  • Consequences of poor care: Many residents in long-term care already have serious physical, medical and mental challenges. When you combine issues, such as pressure sores, mental health issues and other medical conditions with neglect or abuse, it increases the risk of a premature death.
  • Inadequate training: While providing a minimum amount of training may justify paying nursing home staff lower wages, it also increases the likelihood of serious accidents and errors occurring.
  • Limited supervision: Lack of staff supervision can compromise the well-being and safety of residents, especially when an abusive staff member is allowed to continue to care for a victim.

Sadly, none of these issues are new. They have been an ongoing problem for decades, despite federal laws in place “to protect” nursing home residents. Unfortunately, those who own, operate and manage many of today’s nursing homes prioritize profit over the well-being of Iowa’s elderly population.

Why Do Nursing Homes Face So Little Accountability?

An Iowa news article raises the question of why state and federal legislatures remain silent about ongoing abuse and neglect in Iowa nursing homes. Incidents of abuse and neglect continue today, despite raising public awareness about substandard care and horrific outcomes. When children or even animals suffer abuse, the government becomes outraged, and rightly so. Why does there not seem to be that same level of outrage for Iowa’s elderly?

It is no secret that when charges do get filed, they usually target low-ranking nursing aides rather than supervisors, administrators or owners responsible for these facilities. Millions of tax dollars still go to these nursing homes every year, despite their history of substandard care.

What Actions Could Lead to Change?

Elected officials could increase their efforts to protect Iowa’s elderly in nursing homes. For instance, we would like to see more news conferences, hearings, and legislation to raise awareness and action to address this issue. Vulnerable older Iowans deserve protection, as well as dignity and respect.

Concerned for Your Loved One in a Nursing Home? Call PKSD for Legal Help

At PKSD, we work tirelessly to support and advocate for elderly residents who have been victims of abuse or neglect in their nursing homes. We are dedicated to seeking justice and holding at-fault parties accountable for their actions.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to neglect in your nursing home, or if you suspect your loved one is at risk or has been harmed by nursing home abuse or neglect, we urge you to take steps right away. We also encourage you to contact PKSD for legal help.

We offer a completely free initial consultation to discuss your situation and determine if you may have legal options. Our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers have been helping victims injured due to nursing home abuse or neglect for decades. During that time, we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. That history includes a $4.6 million recovery in a hospital nursing home pressures sore case.

Call today to get started. PKSD currently accepts cases in Iowa, Wisconsin and New Mexico. If you have a case and we represent you, there are no upfront costs for you to pay. We do not get paid for our services unless we win compensation for you as the result of a settlement or jury-awarded verdict.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. 877-877-2228

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