We write this nursing home abuse blog to tell you how important it is to choose a quality facility in the event your loved one needs full-time care. Every few weeks, we gather news stories from across the country about abuse cases in nursing homes,to remind ourselves exactly how bad things can get.
Please note: Many of these stories are highly disturbing.
How bad can it get? Maggot bad
According to an article on chron.com, a Wichita nursing home is under investigation after doctors reported finding open sores and maggots on a resident’s feet when he was brought to a hospital for treatment of chest pains. The resident told police he was being mistreated at Deseret HealthCare and Rehabilitation Center.
The facility has a history of health and safety violations—more than triple the national average for nursing homes. According to Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care, which monitors nursing homes:
“There are a number of things that suggest that this is a facility that’s having some challenges,” McFatrich said.
The April inspection cited such physical violations as a rusty floor vent and nonfunctioning call light. Inspectors also found one resident whose toenails had grown an inch from the tip of his toes, and another in a bed with urine-soaked sheets.
Full article: Maggots found on Kansas nursing home resident’s feet
Mentally Handicapped Woman Raped Repeatedly
An article on DesMoinesRegister.com reports that a mentally handicapped woman was repeatedly raped in a state-licensed care facility.
One of the suspects told police that he and one of the other men had worked out a deal whereby one would arrange for the other to have sex with the woman in return for soda pop, a television and a television stand, according to state records.
Three men were charged in the case. They each have a history of violent crime, and they were all living in the same facility as the woman they attacked.
What makes this story even more tragic is that during a head-count, the facility discovered that the woman and the three suspects could not be located during the time of the attacks. The workers at the home reportedly told the state inspectors that they did not search the basement of the facility after it was determined the four were missing.
A mentally handicapped woman went missing in a facility, and no one seemed to care. It makes us wonder what would constitute an emergency for this institution.
Full article: Men took turns raping me
Patients Not Given Medications
According to an article in the Hartford Courant:
State health regulators have fined a Danielson nursing home for failing to provide patients with their prescribed doses of medication for heart disease, dementia and other serious conditions.
A recent inspection by the Department of Public Health confirmed that a large amount of medication, on the order of several hundred doses, had been omitted from treatment regimens at Regency Heights, a 190-bed facility.
The omitted doses, which in some instances were found on the nurses’ drug cart, and still in their blister packs, involved drugs to control seizures, heart disease, diabetes, cerebral-vascular injuries, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and behavioral disturbances.
There is a suspicion that this was a drug-stealing conspiracy by several nurses that went on for several months. However, there was only enough direct evidence to fire one nurse.
The full article: Nursing home failed to prescribe proper medication
Wealthy to Destitute in Four Years
This story, reported on an ABC News website, is not so much about nursing home abuse, but elder abuse. When 90-year-old Alzheimer’s patient entered Copper Ridge nursing home, she was worth a million dollars. Now, four years after she signed over power of attorney to 69-year-old Patsy Sleeger, she has $48 dollars in her bank account.
Sleeger was the wife of the victim’s nephew. When he died, Sleeger took over the role of “caretaker.” Or maybe she should simply be called “taker.”
According to the article:
…the woman [Sleeger] allegedly made 3,900 separate purchases from QVC and the Home Shoppers Network in a four-year period.
When investigators showed up at the home, she had 10 unopened boxes with purchases stacked in the living room. According to a probable cause affidavit, Sleeger also bought four luxury cars with the patient’s money and sold the victim’s home to finance her spending spree.
Power of attorney is given to a trusted person help make decisions for a person who is no longer capable of taking care of himself or herself. In this victim’s case, by the time the alleged thefts had come to light, it was too late. The money was gone.
Elder Law Attorney Robin Weisse says she met with the victim at the onset of her dementia and tried to help.
“A number of years ago, I did go and meet with this particular client, and she was not willing to change at that point in time even though it was viewed by some members of the community that she was vulnerable at that point.”
It seems that there should be a better system of checking up on the people who are put in place to take care of the vulnerable elderly. It really does all come down to trust. Sometimes, trust fails. In this case, because Sleeger had power of attorney, she had legal access to all the resources.
The full article: Alzheimer’s patient fleeced
What to Do
At HensonFuerst Attorneys, we take our role as advocates for nursing home residents very seriously, and we will continue to protect their rights, to speak for people who have no voice. If you believe someone you know has been harmed in a nursing home, please feel free to call us at 1-800-4-LAWMED. Someone is always available—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can also learn more on our website at https://www.hensonfuerst.com/, and on our YouTube channel at http://www.YouTube.com/HensonFuerst/.
If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.