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Detroit Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

In the last five years, Michigan has taken steps towards reducing the instances of elder abuse that occur in nursing homes in Detroit and other areas of the state. In the year between 2012 and 2013, over 15 new laws or amendments took effect in the state regarding the care and safety of senior citizens and disabled adults. Multiple summits have taken place to educate committees and organizations on how to prevent and report cases of elder abuse, and new standards for investigating these crimes have been established.

This all came about in reaction to the 25,000 cases of reported abuse by elders in 2012 alone. The Adult Protective Services of Michigan estimated that by 2013, there would be as many as 30,000 claims if steps were not taken to help prevent the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders. As the population of aging Baby Boomers grows – some reports from the Census Bureau estimate that that 20% of the nation’s population will be over 65 in the next 30 years – this issue was brought to the attention of lawmakers who took action.

St. Francis Nursing Center

In January of 2016, one case of elder abuse made headlines. A Detroit nursing facility, St. Francis Nursing Center, allowed a mentally and physically-impaired patient to wander out of the nursing home. He was later found dead in a dumpster off-site.

The man’s family is suing the nursing home for criminal neglect. This isn’t the first time St. Francis Nursing Center has been under investigation. Other allegations dating back to 2014 include abuse and rough treatment at the hands of orderlies, and one instance of financial abuse wherein a staff member allegedly stole the credit card of a resident.

In the last five years, there is evidence of at least 44 complaints filed against the home. Farther back, in 2012, a case of alleged abuse involved the improper use of restraints. In the 2016 case of neglect, there was no foul play involved with the man’s death, and the case is still underway.

Getting Help in Detroit

There are several avenues that provide help for elderly residents of Detroit who may be victims of abuse. For those residents who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, the Bureau of Health Services has an Abuse Hotline that can be reached any time at 800-882-6006.

If the case of suspected abuse involves an elderly resident who relies on Medicaid or Medicare for their healthcare insurance, then the investigating body is the Attorney General’s Office. Their 24-hour health care hotline is at 800-24-ABUSE.

For elderly residents with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses, the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service is available at 800-288-5923.

If the case of alleged abuse occurs in an unlicensed assisted living facility, a “home for the aged”, or the suspected perpetrator is not an employee of the facility, the proper authority to call is the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Adult Protective Services. Their 24-hour hotline is 855-444-3911.

If the alleged victim is in immediate physical danger, calling the local Detroit emergency services should be the first step. They can remove the patient from the harmful situation, and alert the proper authorities to begin investigations. Anyone can report a suspected case of elder abuse, and anyone who does so can remain anonymous if they wish. Reporters will also be free of any criminal liability in the event that the abuse is proven. Those who work in the medical field, social workers, clergy, and other members of mandatory reporting professions, must report suspicions of elder abuse in Detroit nursing homes.

 

Sources:

 

https://www.michigan.gov/som/0,1607,7-192-29941_30590-46053–,00.html

 

http://www.macombdaily.com/article/MD/20130616/NEWS01/130619630

 

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2016/01/family_sues_after_elderly_man.html

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