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Who Cares About Elder Abuse?

As the family member of a loved one in a nursing home facility, I read with much interest the Raleigh News & Observer story about the fine levied against the Sunnybrook Healthcare & Rehabiltation Center in Wake County. The facility was fined $210,000 following an investigation into reports of abuse of a patient there.

Sunnybrook was fined for the following violations:

•Failure to notify family member and patient's doctor in a timely way when staff members found bruises on the older woman's face, shoulder and hip.

•Failure to supervise residents well enough to prevent accidents.

•Violated its own policies by failing to identify and report an injury of unknown source -- patient's bruises.

•And, failure to document and assess patient's bruising.


My family is going through something similar and trying to get to the bottom of the incident involving my 91-year-old-mother-in-law at the Brian Center Health and Rehabilitation Center in Yanceyville.

To make a long story short, my MIL (who has alzheimers) had bruises on her right arm and left shoulder. The when, why, and how it happened remains unclear. The whodunnit is even more mysterious.

What we do know is we were notified of the bruises on Wednesday, July 22 by a nurse who questioned why nothing was written in her chart. When I went to the nursing home the next day, I observed the brusing first-hand and then talked with one of the nursing supervisors. First a member of the staff said they didn't know how the brusies got there. Then I was told my MIL got into an altercation with another resident and someone broke it up. But when I asked why nothing was documented about the incident, I couldn't get a straight answer. It appears the head nurse on duty on the alleged night in question (Sunday) up and moved to Tennessee the next day and gave her "I quit" notice via email.

So my question was, if the incident happened on Sunday, why didn't anyone question the bruises on Monday or Tuesday when they were helping my MIL get dressed or bathed.

My husband and I attended a meeting with the Director of Nursing on Monday. I asked for a copy of their investigative report but she refused to give it to me---saying it had been sent to the State.

Now it's time to see what the State Division of Health Services & Rehabilitation has to say. Stay tuned.....


Xavierism said…
So sad you're going through this. You would think such things would be in the your MIL's file.

I can't believe the director couldn't give you a copy of the report that was sent to the state. Fishy fishy. Keep us posted.
rosie said…
Thanks for doing this Bev, this is not an uncommon compliant. So often folks just don't know how to get an ear for their concerns. There are advocacy arms out there but experts like you can empower all of us in how to get ears to listen.
Elder abuse must stop. I am also concerned that many health institutions do not pay attention until there is a law suit.
Thank God all are not like that but the fact that abuse still happens is unacceptable.
There should be some kind of report card for nursing homes across the nation that is conducted yearly for the public to have access.
There should also be a team of investigators that make spot checks consisting of non-health professionals, just every day folks who are concerned.
I very angry about this problem and it probably shows in my comment rant.
I know there are many systems in place to address this issue in several states but there needs to be more awareness about the problem with families also. Folks cannot be at the bedside every minute of the day. Many tire themselves out trying. Yet, often, many families are not doing it in a unified effort. Much of the weight falls on a few. Sad but true. If one member can write the letters, another make the calls etc, so much can get done and does in some families.
Bottom line is it will take a village to deal with elder abuse.
copywriting seo said…
It's a sad thing that you have an actual experience on this. What do you think is the best thing the authority should do? Do you think the law is not enough to deter such incident from happening again? is there anything we can do?

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