It is unknown how many of our vulnerable elderly fall victim to neglect or abuse each year since such actions are easily hidden from view and underreported. In fact, according to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), 84 percent of abusive situations involving older adults go unreported or unrecognized.
Many Ohio nursing home residents suffer from advanced mental health disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. This can pose special challenges for nursing home staff. But it is the legal and moral responsibility of the people who operate nursing homes to ensure their staff is properly trained to deal with these conditions. Put another way, the fact that a patient may be “difficult” does not justify acts of nursing home abuse or neglect.
Nurse Admitted to Assaulting Alzheimer’s Patient
A recent story from Miami Township, Ohio, offers an important reminder of this fact. According to a report from the Dayton Daily News, an 82-year-old man died on March 21 while under the care of the Wood Glen Alzheimer’s Community. The decedent’s family believed the man’s death was the result of physical abuse–specifically, an assault committed by a now-former nurse who worked at the nursing home.
The assault reportedly occurred in January 2019, approximately two months before the man’s death. Based on a report made to the Ohio Department of Health, which regulates nursing homes, the nurse said the man “became combative and was swinging wildly at her.” In response, the nurse said she “back-handed him to protect herself.”
The nurse later apologized for her actions, citing overwork and fatigue as factors in what happened. Wood Glen fired the nurse that same day. The nursing home’s attorney told the Daily News, “Being tired and feeling as though you’re overworked is never an excuse for causing harm to someone in your care.”
But as a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney hired by the decedent’s family noted, a nursing home needs to be more responsible for hiring and training its staff, especially when dealing with Alzheimer’s patients who have a documented tendency to “go through angry phases and strike out.” The attorney also told the Daily News that despite its admissions, Wood Glen “has not turned over records about the incident” to the family.
The attorney indicated the family may file a wrongful death lawsuit against Wood Glen, citing the nurse’s assault as a contributing factor the victim’s decline and ultimate demise. Separately, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation. However, as of March 29, the office has not presented the case to a grand jury.
Contact a Cleveland Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney
When faced with a potential act of abuse or neglect, many Ohio nursing homes quickly shift into playing defense. While they cannot refuse to cooperate with state regulators, management is often far less forthcoming with family members who are simply looking for answers. This is why it is imperative to work with an experienced Cleveland nursing home abuse and neglect attorney from the moment you suspect a loved one has been mistreated.
The reality is that many nursing homes will not take family complaints seriously until they see an attorney is involved and actively pursuing an investigation. So if you need advice or assistance in how to deal with possible nursing home abuse or neglect situations, contact the offices of Tittle & Perlmuter today at (218) 438-9630 today to schedule a free consultation.