How to avoid a nursing home nightmare

TRUSSVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s a decision millions of families struggle with: whether or not they should move a loved one into a nursing home.

In light of the Trussville nursing home closing after reports of neglect and problems with care, WIAT 42 News decided to investigate what families need to know to avoid a nursing home nightmare.

The National Center on Elder Abuse interviewed 2,000 nursing home residents. 44 percent reported being abused and 95 percent said they’d seen others abused or neglected.

Susan Bowman says her father, Dr. David Griffin, spent his life taking care of people. She says at the end of his life, the people who were supposed to take care of him didn’t.

“No. I was mad. I was really mad. And it should not have happened. It should never have happened,” Susan Bowman said.Nurs

After a severe stroke, Bowman says they moved her dad into a nursing home in his hometown of Louisville.

She says they never had any problems, until September 2008.

“And I got a call that they felt like he had what they called a spontaneous fracture,” Bowman said.

“I guess about five or six weeks after the injury, he died,” Bowman continued.

The nursing home’s explanation never sat right with Susan Bowman and her family.

“Once I decided to do something I was at peace, I really was,” Bowman said.

They sued, and a jury sided with her family that the nursing home was negligent. Her dad was always supposed to be lifted by two people. Instead, she says one nurse tried to lift him alone and dropped him.

“I don’t think she realized what she had done; I don’t think it was an intentional thing. I think she wanted to go hurry and take her break,” Bowman said.

And the worst part? Bowman says her attorneys with Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton LLP proved the nursing home tried to cover it up for days.

“That man had been in the nursing home for four days with two broken bones. Just lying there,” Bowman said.

She says she hopes what her family and her father went through helps other families make sure the people they pay to take care of their loved ones, actually do it.

Attorney Matt Minner of Hare Wynn handles nursing home abuse cases including this one.

His advice is to make sure the nursing home is well-staffed.

“There’s a lot of problems you see in nursing homes. They can be abuse problems, neglect problems, malnourishment we see a lot. Almost all of those problems are because of under staffing so I would highly recommend that anyone considering getting involved with a nursing home should check the number of skilled care staff and other staff that would be taking care of their loved ones,” Matt Minner with Hare Wynn said.

Also, he says be alert while you are visiting nursing homes. Look for signs the staff knows patients well and cares for them.

“Is the staff calling residents by their names? Do they know them? You would be amazed at how many it’s just another person to them,” Minner said.

He also says within the first 30 days a residents is admitted, there will be a meeting with several people to come up with their care plan. He says family members are invited and should attend. You will know what your loved one’s care plan is. That way, you will know if they are not receiving the care they are supposed to.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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