Gamercy Court, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center in Sacramento, was fined $90,000 for allowing a 73 year old woman to become so dehydrated that she died from complications two days after being hospitalized in June 2006.
Atherton Healthcare in Menlo Park, also a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, was fined $100,000 for allowing a 48 year woman to fall and injure herself at least 14 times before a brain injury claimed her life in Dec, 2007.
Care Center of Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, a long-term care facility reportedly failed to help a 56 year old patient breath when they were unable to replace his tracheotomy tube in Nov, 2007.
The best way to prevent tragedies like these from happening to your loved one is to carefully monitor the care they are receiving. If your loved one is in a care facility there are a few things you can do to monitor their care and show the staff how serious you are about ensuring safe, quality care:
- Drop into the facility unannounced, preferably at a time when there aren't a lot of visitors. This will give you a good idea if the staff let's their guard down when nobody's around.
- Visit at mealtimes to make sure that your loved one is getting the assistance they need with meals. Observe for signs of weight loss and report them to the staff as soon as you notice them.
- Ask to see your loved ones plan of care and request a copy.
- Observe your loved ones skin for any signs of breakdown, sores, or bruises. If you see any of these, report them to the staff immediately and demand to know how they started.
Do you have a loved one in a care facility or know someone who does? How would you recommend monitoring their care?
Find more ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from medical mistakes from Trisha Torrey, About.com's guide to Patient Empowerment.