Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog

Earlier last month, a former health care provider at an elderly care facility was charged for the abuse of a 96-year-old patient under her care. According to one local news report, the Alabama nursing home resident suffered injuries after the nurse was caught “grabbing or twisting her arm [and] hitting and thumping her on the head.” The 27-year-old nurse responsible was indicted for second-degree elderly abuse and neglect.

hospital-1031747-mEvidently, back in August of last year, the nursing home employee got frustrated with the resident for some unknown reason and started physically abusing her. The police issued an arrest warrant for the nurse shortly after the incident was reported. However, it took them several months to locate her. Finally, in December, she was brought into custody and charged for her abusive acts.

The nursing home that employed the nurse told reporters that it has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the abuse of residents. Its policy—which is standard in the industry—is to immediately suspend or terminate any employee who has a credible threat of abuse made against him or her.

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Earlier this month in southern Minnesota, an elderly woman died as a result of injuries she sustained when she fell out of her wheelchair in a local nursing home. According to a report by one news source, the woman’s care plan included the use of footrests for her wheelchair. However, at the time of the accident, the footrests were not installed on the chair.

im-still-mobile-1114180-mEvidently, the footrests were lying behind her bed, out of sight of the nursing home staff, and were not installed on the woman’s wheelchair. As she was being pushed to the dining area, the woman’s foot got caught under the chair, and she was thrown from the chair. As she fell off of the wheelchair, she struck her head on the floor, sustaining serious head and neck injuries. Specifically, she suffered a bleeding in the brain, a fractured vertebrae in the neck, and a dislocated and broken shoulder.

After the accident, the woman was admitted to Hospice care, and she passed away two days later. When asked about the oversight, the nursing assistant told the nursing home director one thing and fellow employees another. First, she told the director that the wheelchair footrests didn’t fit on the woman’s chair. However, later she told fellow employees that she forgot to install the footrests.

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Nursing homes are hardly known for the diligent and caring staff members they choose to hire. In fact, the opposite is often true. It seems that lately there have been countless news reports of abusive aides getting into physical altercations with elderly residents.

green-room-156461-mIn the most recent of these reports, an elderly Guatemalan woman was mistreated and abused in a Culver City, California nursing home facility. According to one local news report, the elderly woman had a colostomy bag that collected her feces. As a part of the care that was to be provided to her, her nurses and nurse’s aides were to periodically empty the bag. However, one of the nurse’s aides used the opportunity to assault the woman with a hook that held the bag at the woman’s side when the woman asked for the aide to be less rough with her.

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Earlier this month in the Bronx, New York, a 77-year-old man died after he was involved in a fight with a nursing aide in a local nursing home. According to a report by one local news source, the two got involved in an intense fight that eventually required witnesses to physically separate the two.

more-about-one-great-man-2-871193-mEvidently, the fight broke out when the resident wanted to get out of bed but the aide wasn’t allowing him to do so. At some point during the fracas, the nursing home resident fell on a broken table and was impaled by a piece of metal. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but he passed away from his injuries just a few hours later.

The nurse—who had been employed with the nursing home for 14 years—told police and reporters that the resident attacked her first. However, that has yet to be verified. For her involvement in the death of the resident, the aide has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, felony assault, and endangering the welfare of an adult. She was released on bail after pleading not guilty to all charges.

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Earlier this month in High Point, North Carolina, a fire broke out in a nursing home that resulted in four residents being taken to the hospital with varying degrees of smoke inhalation and burns. According to a report by one local news source, the fire broke out just after noon at the PruittHealth skilled nursing facility.

matches-1441182-mEvidently, the fire broke out in one of the patient’s rooms. The exact cause of the fire is unknown, but investigators told reporters that it could have been caused by an overloaded electrical outlet, possibly with multiple cell phone chargers plugged into it.

Investigators mentioned that the nursing facility had luckily recently installed an updated sprinkler system throughout the facility, which likely prevented the fire from spreading beyond the room in which it started. Prior to the installation of the system, the nursing home did not have any system in place to prevent the spread of fires.

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Earlier this month in West Virginia, a woman sued a local nursing home, claiming that the home was responsible for the death of her loved one. Specifically, she claimed that the nursing home was negligent for intentionally understaffing the home, increasing the danger of a serious incident occurring.

ambulance-1334534-mAccording to one local news report, the deceased became a resident of the nursing home in April of this year. During her short stay at the nursing home, she suffered from falls, pressure sores, pneumonia, weight loss, and a urinary tract infection before she passed away on September 17.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit claims that the defendant nursing home was aware of budgetary constraints that had resulted in short staffing. These staffing problems had led to deficits in patient care. However, when the nursing home explained its services to the plaintiff prior to her deciding to place her loved one there, it presented itself as a dedicated and capable facility.

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Earlier last month in Winter Park, Florida, two nursing home employees were caught on camera abusing a 76-year-old resident. According to one local news source, the two employees were seen on camera pretending to punch the man, stopping only inches from his face.

webcam-1094943-mThey were also seen holding the man down as they would grab his wrists and hit him with his own hands. When he tried to get away, they grabbed his wrists and prevented him from moving away. The employees also would pretend to hit the man with one hand, and then as he reacted they would hit him with their other hand.

The employees were caught engaging in this awful behavior by the man’s family, who had placed a “nanny cam” in the man’s room prior to the abuse. Both employees will face criminal charges for their role in the abuse of the nursing home resident.

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Nursing home abuse is a serious problem across the United States. However, due to the fact that many instances of abuse go unreported, keeping track of the exact number of abused residents is something that is easier said than done.

hands-833821-mA recent study released by the Gerontological Society of America suggests that the number of abused nursing home residents may be higher than ever expected, affecting as high as one in five residents. According to the report, the abuse is not only being committed by overworked nursing home employees, but also by fellow residents.

The report suggests that the higher-than-expected rate of abuse is due at least in part to resident-on-resident abuse. This is not to diminish the contribution of employee abuse, since that is still a large part of the problem.

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Earlier this month in Denver, Colorado, a man was convicted by a jury of sexually molesting two elderly female nursing home residents. According to a report by one local news source, the 42-year-old man was found guilty of two counts of the felony charge of sexual assault on an at-risk adult and one count of unlawful sexual conduct on an at-risk adult.

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Evidently, the first instance of abuse took place at the Broomfield Skilled Nursing Center during the week of July 10, and then again with another patient on August 14. During the trial, the jury heard a tape of the man speaking to his fiancée, where he admitted to her what he had done and told her that he felt he deserved to be punished for it. In addition, both of the victims testified against him at trial.

The man, while found guilty earlier this month, will not be sentenced until January 2015.

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A few years back, in 2010, a 94-year-old woman died while a patient in a San Diego nursing home after she was run over by a large food cart. According to a report by one local news source, the woman’s family recently reached a settlement agreement with the defendant nursing home.

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Evidently, the nursing home uses large carts to transport the residents’ meals and other equipment. These carts are over six feet tall and about 2-3 feet wide. The carts do not have slats or any way for people pushing the cart to see through or around the cart as they are moving it. Therefore, it is nursing-home policy that any time a cart is moved, two employees should be assigned to the cart.

However, when the 94-year-old woman was struck by the cart, it was only being pushed by one person. In fact, it seems as though the facility rarely, if ever, used two employees to control the cart.

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