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Nursing home neglect case a stark reminder of resident vulnerability

When many people think about living a nursing home as an elderly person, there is a fear associated with this possibility. In nursing home living, residents generally do not enjoy the autonomy and privacy they had as younger adults. In addition, there is a vulnerability to caregivers that can be concerning to some, particularly given the stories of nursing home abuse and neglect we hear about from time to time in the news.

One such story comes from out of state, in Buffalo, New York, where a total of 17 nurses and nursing assistants have recently been charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes connected to the neglect of a deceased nursing home resident. Though the resident’s death was not due to any neglect on the part of nursing home staff, but to a neurological disease, authorities there accuse hospital staff of regularly failing to carry out their duties with respect to the resident, despite the fact that staff documentation shows those duties were met.

Stories like this are always a bit shocking, because families often feel ambivalent about placing a loved one in nursing home care. The ability to trust nursing home staff is what allows many families to overcome any concerns. When nursing homes allow their staff to treat residents with neglect, though, that trust is broken.

Nursing homes need to be held accountable for compromises to the health and well-being of their residents. Families who have suffered because of a facility’s poor management of health care should contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine their options for legal action and recovery. 

Source: WIVB.com, “Hidden camera leads to charges against 17 workers at nursing home,” April 25, 2014. 

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