Life and Death in Assisted Living: "Close the Back Door"

On Sept. 30, 2008, an employee at the Emerald Hills assisted living facility in Auburn, Calif., made an entry in a company computer log: “pressure ulcer/wound.”

Joan, who had spent just 19 days in the facility, had developed the wound on her foot. The fall eight days earlier had hospitalized her and left her with bruises and an abrasion on her right temple. This, though, could be much, much worse.

Pressure ulcers — also known as bed sores — can form when a person loses the ability to move about freely. Lying in bed or sitting in a chair for long stretches of time diminishes the blood flow to the skin, causing it to break down and die. A hole grows. If bacteria creep into the wound, the bugs can devour flesh or invade the blood and bones. Pressure ulcers can turn fatal, particularly in older people.

Because of the lethal potential of pressure ulcers, the federal government monitors them closely in the nursing home business. In the eyes of experts, the sores are often an indicator of poor care. Attentive caregivers can prevent many pressure sores by making sure that people don’t spend too much time in the same position.

“We know that most bed sores are avoidable,” said Kathryn Locatell, a forensic geriatrician who investigates allegations of elder abuse for California Department of Justice. “That is the consensus of experts in the field.”

Emerald Hills was supposed to contact Joan’s doctor when she developed the ulcer. But nobody from Emerald Hills called a doctor. No nurse came to salve Joan’s wound. And nobody told Joan’s relatives — her husband, Myron, who lived in the same facility, or her son who lived nearby — about the development.

Joan’s short, painful stay at Emerald Hills seemed to be accelerating her decline.

Full Article and Source:
Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “Close the Back Door
See Also:
Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “A Sinking Ship”

Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “They’re Not Treating Mom Well”

Life and Death in Assisted Living:  “The Emerald City”

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3 Responses to “Life and Death in Assisted Living: "Close the Back Door"”

  1. Washington State Says:

    My Mother was also harmed by an assisted living home in Spokane, Wash. with the help and encouragement of our brother and his wife. Mother was denied telephone privileges the first eight weeks of her confinement. We had to go thru the front desk just to talk to her and her phone conversations were monitored. Our brother insisted it takes several weeks to get a phone in her room. After I gave him an ultimatum to get it done immediately or I would, Mom had a private phone in 24 hours. The home went so far as calling my brother for permission for me to see my own mother. The home willingly removed all supplements and several meds at the orders of our brother and his wife (a nurse) just at his say-so in an attempt to tear her health done and cause an early demise. Mom was injured and knocked unconscious at this home, and only our brother was called, not me, our sister or Mom's guardian. Our brother was allowed to take her to a doctor by private car which could have been life threatening as Mother suffered a broken hip and cracked vertebra. Mother was placed in another facility after a second broken hip. It's all about the money and the corruption of the people running these places.

  2. Teresa Says:

    My mom's guardian threw her in an AL, but put her in the "lock down mental unit" even though my mom had no dementia diagnosis or mental illness. A little over a year later, my mom has lost considerable weight, fallen multiple times, hospitalized, and is now fighting pneumonia. I just don't know how these people live with themselves.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Please google Scott Schuett, who is STILL IN BUSINESS a year after he was declared "a substantial threat to the public health and safety." While all of these stories are horrifying, they pale in comparison to what goes on in Schuett's facilities every day.

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