Residents Not Taken To The Bathroom; Federal Fine Levied Against Nursing Home

Residents at one nursing home were forced to wait to use the bathroom, sometimes so long that they relieved themselves in their beds or on the floor, because of a shortage of workers, according to a state Health Department report that resulted in a $20,800 federal fine.

In September 2008, six residents of the nursing home recounted for Health Department interviewers how they felt humiliated when no one answered their call bells for help getting to the toilet.

"We definitely had that deficiency in that period of time," said the nursing home spokesman.

Inspectors learned about problems encountered by one resident who had lived at the nursing home for only a month and needed the assistance of two staff members and a mechanical lift to get out of bed.

"She stated that sometimes staff would become angry with her for calling out when they were so busy and tell her she would have to wait," the inspector reported after speaking with the resident and her daughter. "She also stated that when she was waiting for help she would be in pain from the urgency of needing to void. The resident said that on several occasions she had wet herself while waiting for the staff and that she was mortified and embarrassed that she wet her bed."

The state inspectors said they observed another resident who was unclothed from the waist down as he tried to use a bed pan. The resident later said he was yelling out for someone to close the door to his room, the report said. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia. 

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