Nursing home care can help elderly individuals live healthy and dignified lives. Failing to meet this important responsibility, however, can have terrible consequences. One case that serves to prove this point involves complaints by the family of a 90-year-old resident that have caused state authorities to investigate a central Ohio facility for alleged nursing home neglect and abuse.
The granddaughter of the Whitehall nursing home resident, who suffers from dementia, first reported a large red sore across the elderly individual's back, yellow film across his pillow, food on the floor of his room, and a dirty air conditioner. After taking pictures to document these conditions, she returned the next day and claimed that there was yellow coating over his blanket from puss on his back and that he was bleeding. The family said that a nurse told them that the resident was being treated for a yeast infection and that he would be turned every hour to improve air-flow.
The resident, however, told his granddaughter that he was not turned, which he claim caused his arm to feel like it was burning. Tests later showed that he had a staph infection and had to be hospitalized. He was diagnosed with dehydration, dried kidneys, and pneumonia.
Based on these conditions, a family member filed a complaint with the Whitehall police. The department turned it over to Ohio's long-term care bureau. The resident was ultimately discharged from the hospital and returned to the facility.
The Ohio Department of Health did not confirm that these allegations were made, but it acknowledged that it investigated a complaint around that time. Evidence did not substantiate that complaint, but eight citations were issued because of deficiencies uncovered by surveyors. These deficiencies concerned care planning, code status documentation, insufficient reference checks of state-tested nursing aides, response to pharmacy recommendations, dental service, and record accuracy. The facility had to submit a corrective plan to ODH by October 11th.
Families who have a loved one who was injured while in the care of a nursing home should consider seeking legal representation to assure that the applicable standard of care is adhered to at all times. An attorney can help assure that residents are being treated properly and in accordance with Ohio and federal law. Additionally, a successful legal claim may bring accountability and compensation for damages suffered.