Tragic Case of Abuse Serves as Reminder to be Vigilant

Nursing home abuse often sounds like a scene from a movie or a tale of folklore, but for many families it is a sad reality. A shocking case of suspected abuse recently captured on video serves as a reminder for us all that nursing home abuse is an issue against which we need remain vigilant.

On the video, a nurse appears to jerk a wheelchair out from underneath an elderly patient. The 85-year-old patient who suffers from dementia was tossed from the wheelchair, suffering a broken hip. Worse yet, the nurse appears to walk away from the injured patient, not once, but twice, as the patient lays on the ground in pain.

After a couple of minutes the video shows another employee approach the injured patient. However, this employee appears to wait another minute before helping the injured patient. Having the whole incident caught on camera will allow the nursing home to discipline those involved, if in fact they are found guilty of abuse.

The nursing home has a video system in place for the protection of the patients and staff. The administrator of the nursing home where this incident occurred stated: “Our video system, which is in place throughout our center, assists us in providing our patients the best treatment and care available.”

Unfortunately, the video system was not able to protect the injured patient in this instance. Hopefully the recording of this event may be used to protect the safety of the other patients — prompting other facilities to install surveillance cameras for everyone’s protection.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

While this shocking case of suspected abuse was captured on videotape, it may be more difficult to discover if a loved one is experiencing abuse. A loved one may not reveal abuse when it is present. A patient may fear retaliation or increased abuse, or may be physically unable to report the abuse due to illness or mental limitations.

Abuse and neglect can manifest in many forms, including physical, emotional and psychological abuse. Even if you do not suspect your loved one is currently being abused by a care facility, it is always important to be aware of the signs of abuse.

The Elder Abuse Foundation suggests looking for the following signs of abuse:

  • Bed sores
  • Frozen joints
  • Unexplained injuries, including bruises, fractures, burns or sprains
  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Missing possessions
  • Change in banking practices or unexplained large withdrawals
  • Sudden change in will
  • Staff refusing or delaying visits or not allowing visitors to be alone with resident

If it is suspected that a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or other care facility, take action immediately. For questions concerning abuse, neglect or nursing home safety, speak with a personal injury attorney experienced in nursing home and elder abuse.