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Neglect by home health aides led to falling accidents

When a family member is in need of long-term elder care, many families struggle with the decision to place him or her into a residential facility. Fearful of nursing home abuse or neglect, and often in accordance with the individual's own wishes, some Pennsylvania families choose to hire home health workers to provide the care and support needed by their loved one. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect can occur in this type of setting as well, as evidenced by a recent lawsuit in which one family claims that workers failed to both prevent or properly respond to multiple falling accidents.

The family at the center of the case hired a home health care company to provide workers to care for their elderly family member, a 99-year-old male. The man was in good health, but had difficulties in mobility and vision. He required round-the-clock care, which was obtained by means of home-health aides sent by the staffing company.

Concerned about the level of treatment, the family installed cameras throughout the home. When they reviewed the footage, a shocking pattern of neglect and abuse was revealed. Several aides were captured on video, one refusing to pick the man up from the floor after a fall, telling him that her back was not up to the task. A male aide was filmed masturbating in the presence of the elderly man, as well as dragging him across the floor after a different fall. Still another individual was filmed as she watched the man struggle to make his way across the room, never standing up from her position on a couch until he fell.

The family has sued the individuals involved, as well as two companies responsible for hiring and staffing the home-health workers. The elderly man died after sustaining multiple fractures and head injuries in the last fall. As the case moves forward, additional details may arise. In the meanwhile, the story serves as a warning to all Pennsylvania families that abuse and neglect connected to falling accidents can take place in a home care setting as well as within a nursing home.

Source: silive.com, "Shocking video at center of lawsuit alleging home health aides abused 99-year-old Staten Island man", Frank Donnelly, Sept. 9, 2014

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