Most of us with elderly parents or loved ones have good experiences with nursing homes. The nurses and other staff are compassionate, kind and truly care for their patients. When a nursing home finds itself in the headlines for failing to care for their patients, it’s startling and cause even the most confident families stress as they wonder just how well their loved ones are cared for when they’re not there.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced last week that her office had filed a lawsuit against a chain of nursing homes. The accusations include misleading families and failing to provide even the basic services to the elderly patients in the homes. The suit accuses Golden Gate National Senior Care, LLC, of profiting from society’s most vulnerable residents. A total of fourteen people were also named as part of the suit.
“As we allege, these companies profited at the expense of our most vulnerable residents,” she said. “These facilities promised to provide the care needed by residents and then failed to meet residents’ most basic human needs. That is simply unacceptable.” More specifically, the lawsuit says Golden Living violated the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law by deceiving consumers through its marketing practices.
This is a disturbing case, but it’s also a reminder that none of us are powerless when it comes to finding proper care for our loved ones. Here are a few ways you can help ensure a nursing home is being transparent about the care your loved one is receiving.
Accidents happen to all of us. No one is safe from the occasional trip on the steps or sprained wrist. When these injuries happen too often, it’s worth a bit of time to explore the reasons why. Look for bleeding, numerous bruises, dislocations, restraint marks and sprains. Ask questions of the caregivers and your loved one.
If you’re suddenly denied access to your loved one, this could mean a red flag.
Also, pay attention to other medical emergencies that aren’t seen, such as antibiotics for STDs. Sexual assault in nursing homes happens. It’s difficult to get true numbers because so many of them go unreported, especially in patients who may have dementia or other neurological disorders. Be sure you have proper healthcare proxies in place so that any treatment received means you’re notified first. This way, there are no treatments that a family never discovers.
Is your loved one losing weight? Is she hungry every time you go to see her? Do you see access to water, such as a sink? What about her hygiene? Is she clean, is her hair clean?
Financial abuse is another problem in nursing homes. There have been times when patients have signed over their homes. It sounds incredible, but it happens. This is why it’s so important to have powers of attorney in place. No one can access your loved one’s finances without it sounding warning bells. A financial power attorney means those changes go through the named agent. It’s a great way to protect assets.
While most of us will have exceptional experiences with our loved one’s nursing home, it’s crucial we remain vigilant. If you’re concerned about elder abuse, or wish to explore the proper estate planning documents for your loved ones, give us a call today. The estate planning lawyers at DeBruyckere Law Offices stand ready to guide you with solid legal expertise.