Another nursing home abuse case made headlines recently, this time of an 85-year-old dementia patient from Ontario, whose family captured on video her horrific mistreatment at the hands of four different caregivers.
Our Lauderdale Lakes nursing home abuse attorneys were deeply saddened and angered by the abuse these images portrayed.
In one instance, one of the nurses is seen shoving a rag stained with feces into the face of the patient.
In another, a staffer is seen blowing her nose in the patient’s bed sheets.
Another image showed the woman being treated with a complete lack of dignity, as her diaper is changed with her bedroom door wide open.
All of this was just in a short, three-week time span. Prior to that, the woman’s family said they had grown suspicious of what was happening behind closed doors at the facility after they noticed she had an unexplained black eye. The family inquired to the staff at the nursing home about what had happened, but no one could provide an answer.
The woman, plagued with dementia, was unable to speak for herself.
So her children allowed the video footage to do the talking.
Now, the provincial ministry of health is investigating the incident, though no arrests have been made.
This case started like so many others in that something simply didn’t sit right with family members. They had a feeling something was wrong. Too often or sometimes for too long, people choose to ignore that nagging feeling because we find it’s easier to believe that it’s all in our heads. We don’t want to think that anyone would be cruel to the ones we love so much.
Deep down, though, we know that we owe it to those who once cared for us to make sure that they too are in good hands. So when there is a suspicion that they’re being harmed, we have a responsibility to act on it.
The truth of the matter is, incidents such as this aren’t isolated. An ABC News report last year revealed that 1 out of every 3 nursing homes has been identified as having some kind of abuse. The special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found that nearly 9,000 of 5,280 nursing home facilities – about 30 percent – had been cited for instances of abuse over a recent two-year period.
Most commonly, the problems involved bedsores, malnutrition, inadequate medical care, preventable accidents, inadequate sanitation and hygiene and dehydration.
But you may not be able to tell the exact violations just by looking around. Here are some warning signs of elderly abuse to watch for:
–Unexplained bruises, cuts, wounds, broken bones or other injuries;
–Your loved one becomes emotionally agitated, upset, withdrawn or uncommunicative;
–Unnecessary physical restraints (and they usually are unnecessary);
–Evidence of bedsores, malnutrition or dehydration;
–Lack of personal hygiene;
–Rapid weight loss or weight gain;
–Caretakers who are unable to explain behaviors or injuries adequately;
–Unexpected or unexplained death.
If you suspect your loved one has been abused, it’s time to reach out to a Lauderdale Lakes personal injury team with experience.
Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
VIDEO: 4 nursing home workers caught on camera abusing elderly patient in Canada, May 21, 2013, By Lee Moran, New York Daily News
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Florida Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit Bill Fails Legislature, May 12, 2013, Lauderdale Lakes Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog