DATELINE MONTCLAIR, NJ "No way. That was no accident. We think he was pushed," said Dwayne to his mother.
"Dwayne. That's a terrible thought."
"Mom, I've been thinking about Dad's last few days there. You know that I was having to visit there a lot."
"I know, son. But really . . ."
"I'm sorry, I really am. In the beginning I didn't want to think this was possible, but I'm starting to think that these injuries weren't accidental."
"What do you mean !"
"OK, hear me out, Mom. You know how Dad could get . . . well, caustic? I mean, he could sometimes be a little hard to deal with. But the nursing home staff told us that would not be a problem when they accepted him."
"I remember that," Mom said.
"Well, I think a couple of the staff members were not trained to deal with dementia patients."
"What do you mean, 'not trained' ?"
"I mean that he may have annoyed them somehow and they didn’t know that it was his disease making him agitated. Dad didn't always understand what was going on and he needed the staff to be understanding."
"And I think the staff caused those injuries. I was afraid to say anything before. But now I'm going to get to the bottom of it."
AnalysisWhat happened to Dwayne’s Dad in a nursing home is not uncommon. Nursing home abuse often manifests itself in unexplained injuries that can ultimately be traced to falls or other negligent or abusive nursing home care. The causes of these falls require investigation, a study of medical records, and plenty of question-asking. A nursing home should be a safe place for patients, but sadly patients suffer falls and injuries due to negligent nursing home care.
How will you know whether your loved one’s injury was caused by negligent nursing home care or nursing home abuse? Often the first indication comes from an unexplained fracture, hematoma or other injury. An unexpected visit to the emergency room is also cause to suspect negligent nursing home care.
Sometimes nursing home abuse occurs and is caused by nursing home staff members who commit elder abuse against nursing home residents.
Ask questions. What caused the injury? Was there a fall? Where and when did this happen? In Dwayne’s Dad’s case, he may have been agitated because he needed to go to the bathroom and nobody answered his call for help. Or he may have been so medicated he could not walk properly. Or he may have fallen out of bed or a wheelchair because the nursing home was not monitoring him properly due to inadequate and short staffing.
The injury could also have been caused by nursing home abuse.