Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse/Negligence

Dartmouth investigators are examining the death of a 100-year-old woman who was living out the rest of her years in a nursing home. Now the victim’s son is alleging that they had notified the nursing home staff that his mother had been threatened by her roommate who is in her late 90’s and requested that they be separated. The centenarian was found in her bed with a plastic bag tied around her head.

According to the son, his mother told him that her roommate had said, “I’m going to have that bed next to the window.” His mother responded, “Why do you think that?” The roommate then responded, “Because I’m going to outlive you.” After the son asked that they separate them, he was told by the nursing home staff that they were getting along fine.

Chief of operations at the nursing home stated that the roommates were offered a room change twice during the summer, but they both refused. The son said his mother did not want to leave the nursing home because it was where she had lived with her husband for many years prior to his death in 2007. The son also said that as the roommate was being wheeled away she told him, “You’re going to blame me for this … but you’re wrong.” Police have questioned several employees but have yet to name any suspects.
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A story on the website reported that on May 4, 2009 Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak introduced legislation to keep workers with violent histories out of long-term care facilities. The bill H.R. 2223, the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act, will stop individuals with criminal histories from working in long-term care locations by creating an all inclusive country wide system of background checks. The legislation would broaden an extremely successful three-year pilot program that stopped 7,000 applicants with a background of continued abuse or a violent criminal record from working with and victimizing our elders and individuals. These efforts should help lower incidents of nursing home abuse in Philadelphia.

Congressman Sestak said, “The measure of a society is how well it looks after its most vulnerable citizens. Every day, too many of our Nation’s seniors and disabled become victim to physical, emotional, or other abuse. This legislation will help prevent those abuses by ensuring the patients in long-term care will not be at the mercy of those with a violent or criminal past…our most vulnerable citizens deserve better, demand better, and this bill is an important step in implementing the safeguards they need.”

Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, Senator Kohl, said, “We have hard evidence that this policy will work and will protect lives. It is vital that this legislation moves quickly, and I look forward to working with the Finance Committee, the elder justice community, and Congressman Sestak in the House to make that happen.”

According to an article from, Mary Ann Bower, 57, a former nurse at a Pittsburgh-area nursing home, was convicted on February 18, 2009 of harassment and fined $300 for abusing a 94 year old Alzheimer’s patient. Bower was a night supervisor at the Allegheny County-run facility where she did not stop abuse or chastise other nurses accused of being involved.

While charges against one woman have been dismissed, three other former nurses face more serious charges for supposedly hitting a resident. Bower may lose her nursing certification after an investigation of this nursing home abuse in Pennsylvania.

When families entrust the care of a loved one to nurses and those working at an assisted living facility or nursing home, they expect that their family member will be given professional and proper treatment. It is a devastating reality that nursing home abuse happens, especially considering the vulnerability of those living in a nursing home facility.

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