Woman says she was fired from nursing home for reporting neglect

Most people in Pittsburgh would likely agree that when a nursing home employee discovers and reports signs of abuse or neglect of patients by other staff, he or she should be recognized for his or her honesty and desire to protect the residents. But sometimes, nursing home workers are fired after warning management about abuse as a form of retaliation for possible bad publicity.

That is what a former nurse at a home in another state says happened to her. In September 2012, she discovered a 90-year-old resident apparently being ignored by staff. The woman needed to use the bathroom but despite calling for help, no one responded until the nurse got there. By the time she did, the resident was trying to climb out of her bed, which was set high off the floor, the nurse said.

The nurse reported the incident to her supervisor later that night. Though the nursing home ordered a retraining of its staff as a result, it later fired her for "a history of policy and behavioral infractions." The nursing home's chief administrator refused to speak to the media so it is unclear what those infractions were supposed to be. State investigators found that the administrator was not notified right away about the neglect but the fired nurse says she followed procedure by going to her supervisor.

The nursing home did not contact relatives of the 90-year-old about the incident, but the fired nurse did. The woman's niece later moved her to a different home.

The facility previously was the site of abuse when workers were caught on camera abusing an Alzheimer's disease patient.

Source: WKYC-TV, "Investigator: Nurse says she was fired for reporting alleged abuse," Tom Meyer, March 6, 2013

· Our law firm represents victims of nursing home neglect and their families. Please visit our Pittsburgh nursing home neglect page for more information.