Articles Tagged with elder abuse

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Nursing Home Residents Have RightsA few days ago, a jury in Mobile reached a $7 million verdict against a facility over the sexual assault of one of its patients. The article discussing the case paints a disturbing picture of a facility that failed to monitor its own residents. Another fact from the article also stood out — The facility failed to report the assault for 24 hours after the incident. The article does not tell us why the facility waited or what finally prompted the report. Some facilities wait to see if the incident can be covered up.

When I think of nursing home cover-ups, my thoughts always return to a case many years ago. An elderly nursing home resident in Huntsville was severely attacked by fire ants in her bed over the course of several nights. The attacks were only discovered by the family when the resident’s daughter arrived early one morning to a horrible scene. The facility’s CNAs had her mother in the shower washing ants from her. The bed was covered with a mound of swarming ants.

We recently investigated a case where an Alabama nursing home tried to cover-up serious bedsores suffered by the resident. The nursing home neglected to note the bedsores in its own records and later tried to blame them on a hospital where the resident had spent a couple days for other treatment. Unfortunately for the nursing home, the hospital took extensive photographs and measurements upon the admission. So, there was no denying that the bedsores occurred in the nursing home.

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Is-That-Nursing-Home-Providing-Good-Care-300x300Last week I wrote a post titled Who’s Watching Your Elderly Relative In The Nursing Home? At the time, I had been taking depositions in a couple different Alabama nursing home abuse cases. While taking the deposition of one facility’s Director of Nursing, the witness basically admitted her facility only purchased a rulebook to get licensed. This Director of Nursing testified her facility obtained a canned rulebook years ago to get licensed. Since then, the rulebook sat on the shelf gathering dust. She could not testify to any of her own facility’s specific procedures.

Think about that — A facility full of caregivers with no common procedures. All caregivers are left to act as they deem appropriate. We also took the depositions of several different CNAs who provided care at the facility. Most of them had never worked with any other providers. So, they had no prior experience. This facility hired them and turned them loose on its elderly residents with no explicit policies.

When we reviewed the medical chart at the nursing home, we found almost nothing. By nothing, I mean almost nothing was charted despite doctor’s orders to monitor the elderly resident carefully due to his health condition. In my post last week I discussed the nursing home’s response to questions on its lack of charting. In response, the witnesses testified they only “chart by exception.”

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