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Daughter seeks to stop nursing home neglect after mother's death

When faced with her mother's deteriorating health, one California woman had to make what was most likely an understandably difficult decision -- she placed her mother in the care of a nursing home. Although she initially believed this to be the best move, she now suspects that her mother's death was related to nursing home neglect. Now, she's on a mission to protect other elderly nursing home residents. 

After placing her mother in the nursing home, the woman witnessed several concerning issues such as unsanitary bathroom conditions and clothing that hadn't been laundered. She also believed that her mother's room wasn't the only one not being cared for, and she also suspected that staff members weren't attending to her mother's needs. She reported her suspicions of elder abuse and neglect, prompting an investigation by Department of Social Services in California. DSS reportedly found several causes for alarm, such as unsecured medication, serious time lapses during needed care and even used gloves left on her nightstand. They also discovered that she was not being moved every two hours as she was supposed to, and even up to 12 hours at a time passed before she received any attention.

Six months after having taken her mother to the nursing home, the daughter discovered that she had been placed in her bed and subsequently left on her own for nearly a full day. She subsequently removed her from the nursing home's care. Three weeks later, her mother passed away. 

Although there are sound legal concerns with the daughter's mission to equip residential rooms in nursing homes with cameras, her goal to end elder abuse and nursing home neglect is understandable. Unfortunately, until such a time that there is a better standard to hold facilities and staff accountable, nursing home neglect is unlikely to disappear in California. For those families struggling to come to terms with the death of a loved one who may have suffered from abuse and neglect while in the care of a nursing home, one potentially beneficial course of action can be to file a wrongful death claim. Although nothing can bring a deceased loved one back to life, a successfully litigated claim can seek justice for the victim of abuse and his or her family.

Source: NBC San Diego, "Protecting the Elderly with Nursing Home Cameras", Mari Payton, Feb. 3, 2015

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