The death of an elderly nursing home resident from alleged abuse and neglect in northern Iowa is prompting U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley to investigate the case, which he calls “heartbreaking.”
Eighty-seven-year-old Virginia Olthoff died in February at the Timely Mission Nursing Home in Buffalo Center. Grassley says, “We want more information into what happened and what steps will be taken moving forward to stop it from happening to anyone else.”
A state inspection report says Olthoff was in severe pain for days before she died, and went several days without water, suffering from critical dehydration. Grassley says the report is “very disturbing.” “Three things can make a difference between quality of life in a nursing home or a life that doesn’t have quality,” Grassley says. “One is not to have malnutrition. Number two is to not have a lack of water. The other one is, make sure you don’t have bedsores.”
The state had proposed fining the nursing home nearly $30,000 but did not do so in order for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS, a federal agency, to investigate. As yet, no action has been taken by CMS against the home. Grassley is asking the center for answers.
“Nursing homes in Iowa and throughout our country need to be sure they do everything possible to prevent this sort of abuse,” Grassley says. “If they fail, they ought to face severe consequences.”
The CMS reportedly gave Timely Mission its highest five-star rating, despite the home being fined for multiple violations in 2017. At least eight residents at the Winnebago County facility claimed they were physically and verbally abused by staff.