Nursing homes are an integral part of our healthcare system in Alabama and the rest of the country. When we place loved ones in the care of these facilities, we rightly expect that they will be getting the best care possible, free of risks from malnutrition, infections or physical assaults.
But what happens when we aren't there? Are our loved ones always in the best hands? We expect care facility operators to be doing all they can to ensure the safety of their residents, but the reality of operating a business means that they are also driven to deliver their services at the lowest price possible. That's how they make money.
Most of the facilities meet up to the standards we expect of them, but when they don't, the help of an experienced attorney may be indispensible in making sure that caregivers are being held accountable. Sometimes it can require some fairly extreme measures to get the accountability we all would desire.
The case of a nursing home in Alabaster serves as an example. The family of a resident at the facility had become concerned that their paralyzed loved one wasn't getting the gentle attention he required and deserved. After repeated complaints and apparently no action, the family hired a company to install video recording equipment in the room.
What they discovered were instances of great compassion and care, but also clear instances of abuse at the hands of various staff members over the course of an unknown time. In two instances, staff people could be seen pulling on a cord attached to the patient. In another, a worker in scrubs can be seen hitting the patient in some fashion. Once presented with the video evidence, officials launched an investigation.
Reports indicate that since the probe started, a number of people have been fired and three people have turned themselves in to police to face charges. A fourth person is missing and officials have a warrant for her arrest.
It's sad that this situation has gotten to the point that it has. Residents of nursing homes are among the most vulnerable people you can imagine and they deserve the best we can provide. In this particular case, the family says it has gotten what it wanted, proper care for their loved one. We don't know, but we suspect they had an attorney on their side.
Source: WSFA-TV, "Nursing home abuse investigated in Alabaster," Ronda Robinson, Sept. 19, 2012