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Nursing Homes Abuse Blog

By Jonathan Rosenfeld

Why are Nursing Homes Afraid of the Judicial System?

Posted in Litigation

Judicial System OperationA Canadian nursing home chain, Extendicare, has decided to do business anywhere but in Kentucky, where it just leased all 21 of its facilities to another company. The decision was made after the company failed to sway the Kentucky legislature to pass a measure into law that would make it more difficult to sue nursing homes for negligence and neglect. Some people see the action as evidence that Extendicare officials are aware of its own wrongdoing and have pulled the company out of the state in order to avoid being it being held accountable for its actions.

Previous Incident

In 2008, three nurse’s aides were involved in the abuse of a nursing home patient in a facility that was owned by Extendicare at the time. The incident was caught by the placement of a hidden camera and the defendants received diverted sentences for their crimes by 2010. Since the incident, Extendicare has shown a greater interest in politics— by attempting to persuade lawmakers to make it more difficult for the abused and neglected to file lawsuits against nursing homes.

Undue Risk Exposure?

The decision to pull out of the state of Kentucky was reported to have been part of the company’s strategy to do away with operations that impeded its growth or created undue risk exposure. This statement pointed to the ability to be sued for the failure to provide standard care as an exposure to risk. The point was made by the founder of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, Bernie Vonderheide, that the risk of being sued would not be an issue of concern if nursing facilities provided the care that patients both deserve and pay for.

Extendicare has fought back, saying that Kentucky has become a state that targets large for-profit nursing home chains with litigation because those chains have more assets from which plaintiffs can collect if they are awarded damages. The claim that for-profit nursing homes are being targeted specifically might be substantiated, but for all the wrong reasons. For-profit skilled nursing facilities have been found to provide significantly worse quality of care than their not-for-profit counterparts.

Not a Loss

Advocates of nursing home reform are relieved to see Extendicare go and have no intention to make the company feel welcomed in the state of Kentucky again. Anytime a company makes an attempt to have legislation written that looks after its own interests, it makes people suspect that the company has something to hide. Extendicare may be fully aware of potential lawsuits that may be brought against it due to neglect or abuse.

The idea has been brought up that other nursing home chains will leave the state as well if it is too easy to sue them for improper care or negligence. Each time it is brought up, however, the retort by nursing home reform advocates is the same. Let them leave— if they really looked out for the best interests of our loved ones, really provided quality care that they could stand by and really took the proper measures to prevent abuse and neglect in their facilities then they would have no reason to fear being sued.

If you have a loved one who was mistreated at an Extendicare facility, inside or outside the state of Kentucky, our nursing home lawyers are interested in discussing your legal options with you.  Our legal consultations are free and there is never an obligation to use our office for your case.

For additional information on Kentucky nursing homes look here.


Nursing Home Slapped With Huge Verdict After They Fail To Summon Medical Care for Patient

Posted in Litigation

Nursing Home Verdict against Nursing HomeElderly people who have succumbed to a disease or illness are vulnerable and frail. They are in a very precarious state, where the slightest aggravation to their body can cause severe health damage. Family members are usually not equipped with the expertise and resources to care for their ill loved ones, so they decide to admit their elderly family members in nursing homes.

When an elderly individual is admitted to a nursing home, family members are assured that their loved ones will be taken care of. The nursing home staff guarantees optimal care and tells the family members not to worry. However, once the family members leave, the situation becomes quite different.

The Reality of Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are increasingly suffering lack of resources, lack of staff and most importantly, a lack of expertise. Many workers do not have the training required to care for their elderly patients in the best possible manner. At other times, resources and equipment are at such a low, that the health of the elderly patients is compromised.

Unfortunately, not only the resources and materials are lacking in nursing homes. One of the biggest problems is when the staff of nursing homes does not care for its patients. Many residents have been neglected for days, their pains are waved off as ‘nothing serious’ and their issues are never resolved.

Arkansas Nursing Home Death

An example of the lack of care and professionalism found in nursing homes today is the case of the death of a 76 year old in an Arkansas nursing home. Staff failed to take the elderly patient to the emergency room even after she was complaining of severe abdominal pain. Staff communicated via fax messages to send the elderly patient to the emergency room and the fax was ignored. The patient died a day after complaining of the severe pain.

Overworked and Unprofessional Staff

Such instances are occurring in one too many nursing homes. The staff is overworked and this leads to lack of care with the patients. Neglect of elderly patients is not acceptable, as any small issue must be taken into account right away.

Many nursing home staff members have also become unprofessional and are merely completing their work for the day, with the least amount of effort possible. This leads to many oversights and patients are left untreated for days before getting adequate care.

Nursing Homes and the Law

Fortunately, the law is taking an important step in assessing this matter. Families of loved ones who have died or have been severely injured due to the lack of care of nursing home staff are appealing to the courts for compensation and justice. The family of the 76-year-old Arkansas woman was awarded a substantial amount for the pain and suffering their mother went through before she died. Legal advisors are available for families who wish to fight back against unprofessional nursing homes.

There should be no room for lack of care or management in nursing homes. The lives of patients are at stake and the slightest neglect or miscommunication, such as what happened in the Arkansans nursing home, can become a matter of life and death.

Resources for Further Information

Nursing Home Scrutinized Over the Way They Handle Post-Fall Care of Patient

Posted in Nursing Home Falls

Post Fall Care and Nursing HomesNursing homes were considered a safe haven for the elderly and people did not hesitate in sending their loved ones to nursing homes in the past. However, the scenario has changed to a great extent. What was once a safe and secure haven has now become a dangerous place. Nursing homes have been severely criticized for their patient care and services, especially for the way the staff handles patients after they experience a serious fall. The nurses and other staff members fail to take notice of the patients if they fall from a height and do not report the incident on time to the doctors. This often results in the death of the patient and the authorities of the nursing home are left with nothing to say.

Statistics of fall in Nursing Homes

Cases of patients falling in nursing homes are escalating at an increasing speed every year. Around 1800 elderly patients inhabiting different nursing homes die every year due to grave injuries that result from falling on the floor. Around 10%-20% of all the falls result in stern injuries; these injuries include fractures in the leg, hip and serious brain injuries that often lead to brain disorders. Fractures account for about 2%-6% of the total injuries that are reported.

In the year 2003, around 1.5 million aged 65 and above lived in nursing homes, and about 20% of the deaths reported that year were due to harsh falls. Nursing homes with about a hundred beds report approximately 100-200 falls each year. Almost half of all patients living in nursing homes at least fall once a year; some even fall twice or thrice per year. These falls hamper the patient’s quality of life and often make him irritable, depressed and helpless.

A Case of Poor Post-Fall Care of Patients

On 14 February 2013, a female patient was admitted to the Westchester Manor at Providence Place in High Point after experiencing a stroke; she was also suffering from dementia. Her name has not been identified yet. The woman fell in her room on 14 March 2013; she was trying to go to the bathroom and as she was not assisted by a nurse, she could not handle herself properly and fell on the floor. She was found by a nurse a little while later, who didn’t report that incident to a doctor immediately.

A few days following her sudden fall, the patient was evaluated. The nurses started noticing changes in her including anxiety and nervousness, which is why she was taken to a hospital on 23 March. Her brain was scanned in the hospital and the scan revealed that she had a subdural hematoma that made her brain shift in a manner that exerted a lot of pressure on the brain’s stem. She stayed in the hospital for some days and eventually passed away on 28 March 2013. Had the woman been assisted by a nurse while was going to the bathroom or if the nurse had reported her fall to a qualified doctor on time, the woman could have been with her family right now.

The CEO of Providence Place, Tom Higgs stated that the nursing home is known for providing excellent patient care since a long time and he believes that there are two sides to this story. No matter what Higgs says, people will be hesitant in leaving their loved ones in this nursing home now.

Why Nursing Home have Poor Post-Fall Care?

The staff members including the nurses have a habit of wandering aimlessly and skipping their duties, which is why patients are often left unattended, and when they are unattended, they start doing things on their own and eventually end up falling. Secondly, nurses often do not read the patient’s charts after falls and do not report the fall to the concerned doctor on time; this careless attitude aggravates the injuries of the patients and results in their death.


Medications Used to Control Pain in Elderly Nursing Home Patients Can Be Fatal If Not Properly Monitored

Posted in Medication Errors

Pain Control in Elderly with Medicine Can Be FatalPeople nowadays are tentative to send their dear ones to a nursing home for treatment and care. A major reason behind this hesitancy is the prevalence of careless attitudes and poor services that exist in the nursing homes nowadays. One of the commonly experienced issues is not giving the right medications to patients or not monitoring those medications.

This results in the death of the patients in the majority of the cases and tarnishes the reputation of the nursing homes. There have been a huge number of cases where nurses did not keep a watch on the medicines being given to the patients and either gave them an overdose or an under dose of their medications; both these measures prove to be fatal for the patients.

One of the most serious and commonly occurring nursing home abuses is not supervising the medications given to patients; nurses are often reported to either have given the wrong medicine to patients or giving them an incorrect dose of the right medicine. The majority of the patients admitted to the nursing homes are suffering from one of these chronic diseases: cancer, stroke, heart disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and in all of these conditions, the patients are prescribed drugs to improve their health.

However, the staff at nursing homes frequently makes mistakes while handling the medications of the patients living there and does not correctly monitor the medications given to patients. There have been cases in which the nurses mixed up the drugs and gave high blood pressure medications to a diabetic patient.

Statistics of Giving the Wrong Medication to Patients

A study shows that around 7 out of 10 patients living in health care facilities suffer from errors made in prescriptions or are given incorrect medicine. Approximately 69.5% of all people residing in nursing homes have been the victim of wrong medication or incorrect dosage. Nurses do not read the prescriptions correctly and hastily administer medications to the patients that often prove to be fatal. In another study, 178 out of the 256 patients living in a nursing home had been the victim of medication blunders. During 2010, around 60% of the 38,329 deaths that took place in nursing homes in the U.S. were due to incorrect prescription drugs. The death rate due to an overdose of painkillers was around 415% in women and 265% in men during 2010.

There are numerous reasons why these episodes take place. First, a lot of the staff does not have sufficient knowledge of different medicines. Secondly, many of the nurses do not know what medicine needs to be given with food and what medicines are supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. Third, many nurses are unable to read the doctor’s handwriting and confuse one drug with some other. Fourth, the staff often does not pay attention to the prescription and reads it in a hurry, which is why the end up making such serious mistakes.

Nurse Found Guilty of Administering Wrong Medication to Patient

In July 2010, a case was reported in Florida in which the nurse administered the wrong medication to a 79-year-old man. Richard Smith suffered from kidney disorder and was admitted to a health care facility. The next day, Smith complained of a pain in his stomach so the doctor prescribed him an antacid. When Smith’s son came to visit him the next day, he found his father lying unconscious in the room. It was then discovered that the nurse in charge had given Smith wrong medicine that caused Smith to go into severe respiratory arrest. Instead of an antacid, the nurse had administered Pancuronium to Smith; this medicine is normally used in strong and lethal injections. The Smith family is now planning to sue the nurse.

Tips For Preventing Nursing Home Abuse

Posted in Broken Bones

How Do You Prevent Nursing Home AbuseWhen a family makes the difficult decision to place their loved one in the care of a nursing home, they hope the provided caregivers will be as loving and responsible as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many elders are abused in nursing homes due to their age and physical frailty. Often, this abuse is in the form of neglect. In order to make sure your family doesn’t fall prey to nursing home abuse, look for the 5 warning signs below.

Look For Bruises, Pressure Marks, And Broken Bones

In the unfortunate event that physical violence is being used against the elderly, there will often be a mark. One place to look is one the wrists and ankles to determine if unnecessary confinements are being used. Anytime your elderly family encounters a broken bone, make sure to fully understand what happened to ensure it was not abuse such as hitting or shoving that led to it.

Document Changes In Behavior

When your family member suddenly becomes sullen, or doesn’t participate in their favorite activities anymore, it could be a sign they are suffering from abuse. Keep an eye out for depression as well.

Keep An Eye On Finances

Another form of elder abuse is financially duping those who aren’t coherent enough to understand. Make sure to keep a tight lid on your family member’s finances to make sure they are not being exploited.

Watch For Bedsores And Weight Loss

If your family member is confined to their bed, one sign they are being neglected is the appearance of bedsores and poor hygiene. There are ways to prevent bedsores, and a well cared for person should not develop them. Additionally, weight loss in a person who is still eating can be a sign that their food is not being delivered to them on a regular basis.

Listen To Your Family Member

If you hear that your family member is being belittled or threatened, don’t write it off to old age. Instead, make a point of investigating their claim to make sure it is a fallacy and not a sign of elder abuse.

Growing old is hard enough on a family without dealing with the fall out of nursing home abuse. Make sure to use these warning signs to keep your family safe.

Determining When or If to Take Legal Action

If you feel like your family member has been mistreated or abused, you may be entitled to pursue legal action on their behalf.  A law firm that handles nursing home negligence cases can evaluate your case and explain your legal recourse in the applicable laws.

Poor Communication Alleged in Nursing Home Patient’s Death

Posted in Medication Errors

Death of a Nursing Home Patient due to Poor CommunicationNursing home care is often adversely affected due to poor communication. Open communication channels between hospitals, nursing assistants, nurses in charge, directors and administrators, and other staff is the key to keeping problems from becoming too serious.

Most nurses in nursing homes rely almost entirely upon discharge information provided by the hospital when transitioning patients in nursing home care. Multiple problems and inadequacies arise in the communication of such information to nursing home staff. According to nursing home staff, problems regularly arise with medication in the lack of necessary prescriptions, they are provided with limited or no medical history, and sometimes the wrong information is provided regarding the current health status of patients.

Due to miscommunication between hospitals and nursing homes, nursing home staff reports that they have to consistently make phone calls for clarifications about medical history and medication, deal with increased nursing staff stress and thus lower quality of care, and suffer delays in providing medication. This further leads to the frustration of individual residents and family members, resulting in a negative image of the nursing home and further leading to the re-hospitalization of some patients. Hence, according to nursing home staff, the main barrier to effective transitions to nursing home care was miscommunication.

Incidence of Miscommunication

A recent story emerged regarding a Wood River based nursing home, in which the home was held responsible for the demise of a resident after a surgery and a lawsuit was filed. The lawsuit was filed against SA-Enc VIP Manor LLC. and Brenda Schneedle, administrator of the estate of Nellie Petrokovich, was the one who filed the suit.

Petrokovich had colon surgery in May 2011 at St. Anthony’s Hospital. Following the surgery, she was shifted to VIP Manor a month later, in a condition regarded as stable. According to Petrokovich’s family, she was said to be under the care of a Dr. Gray and a nurse Steib at the nursing home.

According to the lawsuit, the doctors ordered blood work for Petrokovich. Furthermore, the results were sent to the home via fax. The results of the blood test allegedly revealed that sodium levels in Petrokovich’s blood were very low. However, according to nursing home records, the staff did not receive the fax and were not given any physician’s orders regarding medical care for the patient.

As with all patients with low blood sodium levels, Petrokovich soon started showing signs of swelling in different parts of her body, including her arms, legs, feet and her face in the days following the results. She was subsequently moved to St. Anthony’s emergency room for treatment and released a couple of days later, after which she moved back to the nursing home. The nursing home staff noticed that the patient was experiencing shortness of breath, her speech was slurred, and she seemed very confused, due to which they moved her back to St. Anthony’s Hospital. Doctors at the hospital diagnosed her with congestive pulmonary failure and respiratory distress, and she died eight days later under their care.

The blame, according to the family, lies with the owners and nursing staff of VIP Manor, the nursing home, for failing to take measures to improve Petrokovich’s condition or prevent her death. They are also being sued for violation of Illinois’ Nursing Home Care Act. Schneedle, Petrokovich’s daughter, has sued for an amount of money in damages and court costs.

Behind Closed Doors: Sexual Abuse Alleged At Nursing Home

Posted in Sexual Abuse & Assault

What Happens Behind Closed DoorsNursing homes are supposed to be a comfortable and safe haven for elderly individuals who are suffering from illnesses and require special medical attention. Families of the elderly people who reside in nursing homes want to be satisfied with the care their loved one is receiving and want the best for their elderly family members.

When a family member makes the difficult decision of admitting their elderly loved one into a nursing home, they want to feel content that they are making the best decision for them.

The Issues with Nursing Homes

Unfortunately, nursing homes are not always an ideal place for the elderly. Nursing homes are increasingly becoming a dangerous place. With drops in nursing staff and lack of resources, many residents are not receiving adequate medical care. Elderly patients also suffer from various types of abuse, such as mental and physical abuse. These elderly patients suffer terribly and there can be debilitating physical and psychological damage. Another, more serious and devastating type of abuse, which occurs behind the closed doors of nursing homes, is sexual abuse.

Sexual Abuse of Elderly

Sexual abuse can cause severe psychological and physical damage to any individual who suffers from it. However, because of the frailty and vulnerability of elderly patients, the effects of sexual abuse are magnified considerably. These elderly patients rarely have anyone to whom they can voice their complaints and sometimes are in such frail conditions because of their illness, that they cannot speak at all. These residents are left unnoticed, neglected and the abuse can go on for a very long time before someone realizes what is going on.

Sexual abuse in nursing homes usually occurs in two ways. The most common form of sexual abuse in nursing homes is perpetrated by other residents of the facility. Here, the staff of the nursing home is at fault for not supervising the individuals properly and failing to protect their residents.  Sexual abuse perpetrated by residents is dangerous as it can go unnoticed for quite some time. There have been cases of such abuse in many United States nursing homes and it is becoming more of a problem all around the country.

The second type of sexual abuse that occurs in nursing homes is by the staff of the nursing home. Elderly patients are very vulnerable, both mentally and physically, and sometimes corrupt staff members take advantage of this. Sexual abuse by staff is even more dangerous and problematic because the patients are often afraid to speak out about such issues, especially when it involves someone in power.

Sexual abuse undermines the dignity and the self-respect of its victims. These elderly individuals’ quality of life has been already at a disadvantage due to their illness or disease. Sexual abuse aggravates their physical and psychological problems, and can severely alter their health.

Nursing homes have been established to be a comfortable and relaxing place for elderly individuals. It is a place that family members leave their loved ones and want to remain assured that their grandmother or their father, for example, is being given the best possible care. Nursing homes must once again become that safe haven where the elderly can rest and enjoy their days with security and peace.

Resources for Further Information

Recent Nursing Home Fines Suggest General Lack of Patient Oversight

Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

Fines Show Lack of Patient CaringNursing homes are increasingly becoming a place of distrust and oversight, rather than what they were created to be, a safe and comfortable home for the elderly.

Recently, many nursing homes have been fined for their oversight of patients and the lack of care of patients. Elderly individuals are admitted to nursing homes in the hopes that they will be cared for with the best resources. However, most often this is not what elderly patients receive. In contrast, they are neglected and given very little attention.

Need to oversee fragile patients

Patient oversight can range from ignoring a patient’s request for a diaper change to ignoring a patient’s infected abscess. Some patients go for weeks without baths, which can aggravate infections and illnesses they are already suffering from. The staff working in many nursing homes may forget to attend to a patient during rounds and the elderly patient will only be looked at during the next set of rounds, usually after two or more hours.

Small issues that the nursing staff may not think are important can evolve into larger problems. For example, simply forgetting to change a patient’s diaper can cause a bladder infection or set the course for a bedsore to form. Both of these infections can cause great suffering to a patient and if left unnoticed, can cause serious health issues.

Patient oversight occurs much too often in nursing home facilities. The elderly are at an extra disadvantage compared to younger patients at other medical facilities because they are unable to exert their rights in an adequate manner. Sometimes these patients are unable to walk or talk and cannot express their feelings or their issues properly, even to their own family members.

Who is Responsible?

Nursing homes must be held responsible for the pain and suffering elderly patients experience due to the oversights of staff members. There is no excuse for ignoring a patient’s cry for help. Staff members are responsible for the well being and the security of these patients, and if they are not doing their job properly, there must be penalties.

Fining Nursing Homes

Fortunately, state governments are taking action against the neglect of nursing homes. They are fining the nursing homes for the distress and pain that the elderly patients have been suffering due to their oversight. These fines are influencing nursing homes to take action and better train their staff to ensure that mistakes or negligence do not occur at their facilities again.

Nursing homes have been established to help the elderly. However, nowadays nursing homes are becoming more of a problem for the elderly patients. Lack of care and an increase in patient oversight is causing nursing homes to no longer be a safe option for the elderly. If the nursing homes cannot guarantee safety and proper medical attention to their patients, they should not be in service. Fining these nursing homes is essential in motivating the staff to increase their standards and their quality of care.

Resources for Further Information

Nursing Home Falls Can Be Reduced By Implementing Basic Precautions

Posted in Nursing Home Falls

Nursing Home Falls and Precautions Falls among the elderly contribute to roughly 1,800 deaths each year and statistics are showing that the problem is greater in nursing homes than anywhere else. Only 5% of the population above the age of 65 lives in nursing homes, but falls in nursing homes account for 20% of the falls that occur nationwide, regardless of location.

Many of the falls that happen in nursing home happen as a result of increased frailty among the members that live under assisted care. These falls can be easily prevented, however, by evaluating the contributing factors to falls in the elderly and adjusting the care given to patients in nursing homes accordingly.

Medications contributing to poor balance

Some medications may increase the risk of falls in the elderly if the side effects of the medications include dizziness, fatigue and muscle weakness. Many patients’ falls are directly related to the side effects of medication, and should be prescribed medicines with fewer side effects that increase the likelihood of a fall. Doctors should evaluate all of the medications that patients are currently taking and decide whether or not alternatives can be substituted in order to reduce the risk of falls in nursing homes.

Environmental dangers adding to fall risk

Despite the belief that nursing homes provide a much safer environment that reduces the risk of falls, between 16% and 27% of the falls that occur in nursing homes are the result of an environmental hazard. Tripping hazards can actually be more common in a nursing home than the hazards that exist in an everyday home. Nursing home staffs need to be aware of the tripping and falling hazards that exist and take more care to help patients avoid them. Chairs, stools, rugs, wet floors and other furniture can pose risks and furniture must be put out of the way and floors marked as wet in a way that the elderly can see and avoid the hazard.

Atrophy: When de-conditioning is a factor in falls

When a patient is confined to a bed or limited in his or her movement, muscles become atrophied and contribute to a greater risk of falling. Many of the falls among the elderly are the result of weakened muscle and nursing homes can inadvertently encourage this by limiting the amount of activity that patients are able to participate in. The fear is that allowing patients to be active could increase the chance that they will fall during activity. Instead of benefiting the patient, however, confining the elderly to beds will only make them frailer and subject to falls when they must walk or perform an activity.

Exercise: Pushing a patient too far

Encouraging the elderly to exercise helps them in many ways and will ultimately prolong their lives. Activities should not be too strenuous, but activity will prevent muscle weakness and help older people maintain balance and important motor skills. One common activity that is extremely helpful to the elderly is Tai Chi— a series of very slow and controlled movements combined with controlled breathing. Tai Chi classes for the elderly allow participants to perform the actions while seated or with a seat close by.

Exercise is not only an effective means of preventing falls, but it allows the elderly to feel less confined and maintain their sense of dignity and freedom. Many of the elderly participants in Tai Chi classes enjoy that the activity allows them to get away from normal day to day life and gives them the opportunity to do something fun and relaxing. Adults who exercise regularly also have a higher lifespan than those who do not and this remains true for the elderly.

Evaluating nursing home fall cases to determine if a facility is negligent

By properly evaluating the needs of patients, nursing homes can greatly reduce both the frequency of the falls and their severity that occur among their elderly residents. Keeping patients off of medication that comes with adverse side effects that contribute to falls, removing furniture, rugs and other obstacles from common areas and promoting activity are all ways to accomplish this goal. Through fall prevention, we can ensure that our loved ones live longer and healthier lives.

If your loved one has sustained serious injuries related to a fall or being dropped in a nursing home, they may be entitled to significant damages for their injuries for their related pain and medical expenses.   A nursing home lawyer can review the circumstance and advise how to proceed with a legal claim or lawsuit against the responsible facility.


Chicago Nursing Home Lawyer Reminds Family Members to be Vigilant About Care Of Elderly

Posted in Abuse In Chicago Nursing Homes & Other Communities Within Illinois

Families To Stand Up for Elderly CareAfter a lifetime of providing for the needs of their families, giving love and making sacrifice for those who they have cared about, our elderly really do deserve much better care than they have been receiving at many facilities. Nursing home abuse is a topic that few people like to talk about and most people would prefer to believe that it doesn’t happen to their loved ones. Each time a story is aired on the news that details the horrible treatment that has been given to an elderly person; our gut reaction is to assure ourselves that the nursing home we chose for our loved ones is better. But is it?

St. John’s Place

St. John’s place is a nursing home that is in St. Louis County that may appear no different than most other nursing homes in the area. The facility is receiving attention lately due to two separate incidents involving patients under its care this month. Police were investigating the fall of an 82 year old woman who suffered severe injuries in the fall. Criminal charges may be filed against the nursing home and the story was featured on the news— prompting a viewer to investigate the home even further because her own family member was a patient there.

After looking into the level of care that her mother-in-law was receiving, Gail Drmacich was in for a few surprises. She noticed that her mother-in-law had bruises all over her arm and wondered if they may have been from a fall that the nursing home failed to report to her. The injured arm eventually turned green and Gail demanded that an ambulance be called. It took the nursing facility two hours to meet her demands and her mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital with a fractured elbow and a separated shoulder.

How to tell if Your Loved One is in Good Hands

It does not matter if the nursing home that you have trusted your loved ones’ care to has the best reputation in the area— nursing home abuse can happen anywhere. As family members, we need to be more active in the lives of our loved ones so that we can be certain they are being cared for. Visit your family member often and make sure that he or she is not showing signs of malnutrition or dehydration, which will be evident through abnormal weight loss and changes in mood or confusion. If you notice during a visit that your family member has any symptoms of a medical condition that were not present during your last visit, investigate.

Nursing homes tend to hide what happens to their patients due to fear of litigation, so you cannot always trust the story that you are given by the nurse or staff member who is responsible for your family member’s care. The presence of bruises, change in behavior or mood and symptoms that mimic dementia can all be signs that your loved one is being neglected. If he or she is confined to a bed, make sure that there isn’t a presence of bed sores and demand medical care immediately if you suspect that something is wrong.

It is easy to deny the possibility that the nursing home we have chosen for our loved ones is responsible and dedicated to their care. We would like to believe that we made the right decision by placing our family members in the homes that care for them. However, we need to be alert and aware of how our loved ones are being treated because it benefits them more to admit we were wrong than to hold onto the thought that we made the right choice. Do not wait to see your loved one’s nursing home featured on the nighttime news to investigate whether or not he or she is receiving quality care and respect.

Deciding when to move forward with legal action after an injury in a nursing home

If you are concerned about the care of a loved one in a nursing home, you may wish to contact your state’s department of health who can conduct an investigation into the matter.  If the matter is truly of a life threatening nature, you may wish to to contact the local police and paramedics.  Consulting with a nursing home attorney may be appropriate if the matter involves negligent care of the facility.  An attorney who prosecutes nursing home abuse can advise you and your family of your legal options and may be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home on your behalf.

Nursing Homes Abuse Blog