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Tragic mishap at Iowa alzheimer’s care center leads to fine

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An unfortunate incident at the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale, Iowa, has resulted in a $10,000 fine for the facility. A 66-year-old woman, who had been admitted to the center with a diagnosis of “senile degeneration of the brain,” was declared dead on January 3, after a nurse and a funeral director found no signs of life. However, when the funeral director arrived to pick up the body, they were shocked to find that the woman was alive and gasping for air.

The funeral director immediately called 911 and hospice, and the woman was taken to a local emergency room where she was found to be breathing but unresponsive. Despite the efforts of medical personnel, she was returned to hospice, in accordance with her advanced directives, and passed away the following day with her family by her side.

The incident was reported to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) on January 4, and the DIA conducted an investigation that resulted in the issuance of a violation for “failing to provide adequate direction to ensure appropriate care and services.” The facility’s executive director, Lisa Eastman, has stated that they are in “close communication with the family of the resident” and that they are “fully committed to supporting their end-of-life care.”


The Ankeny Police Department has stated that they are not pursuing criminal charges in this case. The funeral home, Ankeny Funeral Home and Crematory, has declined to comment on the matter, citing respect for the privacy and confidentiality of the families they serve.

This tragic incident serves as a reminder of the importance of proper training and protocols for end-of-life care, particularly in facilities that care for patients with Alzheimer’s and other debilitating conditions. The staff at Glen Oaks have undergone regular training to ensure they are equipped to provide the best possible care and support to their residents, but in this case, things went tragically wrong. The family of the deceased woman deserves our condolences and support as they navigate this difficult time.

In conclusion, the Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center must take this incident seriously and take the necessary steps to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future. The staff must be provided with additional training and support to ensure they are prepared to handle end-of-life situations, and the facility must review and update its protocols as needed. The families of residents in the care of this facility deserve peace of mind and assurance that their loved ones are receiving the highest quality of care.

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