Patricia Blank spoke before the Senate Finance Committee about her mother’s tragic death and the nursing home neglect that caused it. Her mother, Virginia Olthoff, died after being dehydrated, in severe pain and may not have had any water or food several days before her death in February 2018. Blank said she was never notified of her mother’s problems in the weeks leading up to her death.
Blank was one of four people brought to testify before the Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Senate committee to talk about abuse and neglect in nursing homes.
“I’ll continue to make it a top priority to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to quality long-term care in an environment free from abuse and neglect,” Grassley said in his opening statements.
The hearing was not just to discuss neglect that had already occurred, but what can be done to prevent these situations in the future.
The Iowa Republican also said addressing the high turnover rates in nursing home staff and making sure bad actors are reported to law enforcement could also help stop elder abuse in care facilities.
Blank thanked the people who take care of nursing home residents properly, people who report neglect and Clark Kauffman, the former Des Moines Register reporter who covered her mother’s case.
“I do want to thank the (certified nursing assistants), the nurses and others who work in care facilities who do their jobs right,” she said. “The facilities are understaffed and these people work for much less money than they should be paid. Please thank these people if you have a loved one in one of these nursing homes.”