State-run home in Glenwood is cited in resident death

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals is the state agency tasked with inspecting Iowa's long-term care facilities. (Photo by Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals)

The state-run Glenwood Resource Center has been cited by state inspectors for failing to provide adequate medical care for a resident who subsequently died of cancer.

The 64-year-old woman, like many of the residents at the Glenwood home, had a severe intellectual disability. She began refusing meals in early October and was frequently gagging and vomiting. She eventually grew too weak to stand. Lab work was ordered and evaluated but the woman was never given an overall assessment by her primary care provider or a physician, state inspectors later alleged.

In late October, the woman was hospitalized with sepsis, a potentially fatal infection. Testing at the hospital revealed she had cancer that had metastasized to the liver and lungs.  She died eight days after her admission to the hospital.

A nurse at the facility reportedly told inspectors she sometimes relayed concerns about residents’ health to their primary care providers without ever receiving a response or the providers didn’t examine the residents as soon as they should have.

The state has proposed a $4,000 fine but held that fine in suspension, giving federal officials the opportunity to impose a penalty.

The death marks the 14th regulatory violation at Glenwood this calendar year. The Glenwood facility is managed by the Iowa Department of Human Services.

In January, the home was fined $500 for failing to protect residents from abuse. Workers at the home reported that they overheard a colleague chastising a resident who responded by telling the employee, “Have some respect, my father died.” The worker was allegedly heard to reply, “I don’t give a s—, my father has been dead for 10 years, so up yours! … You can pack you s— and leave.”

In April, the state proposed, and suspended, a $500 fine when a worker mistakenly gave medication to the wrong resident, resulting in that resident being taken to the hospital.

Also in April, the state proposed, and suspended, a $1,500 fine for failing to properly report allegations of resident abuse. A worker at the home had informed officials there that he overheard two of his colleagues talking about how they would use the rings on their fingers to tap on the protective helmets worn by the residents in order to agitate them. The worker said he also overheard the two talking about throwing feces back at the residents who would sometimes throw them. A $500 fine for inadequate nursing services was also proposed and suspended.

The U.S. Department of Justice is continuing to investigate allegations that the former superintendent of the Glenwood home had planned to conduct human sexual-arousal experiments using residents of the home before he resigned earlier this year.

Clark Kauffman
Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.