No nursing home resident should ever suffer neglect and abuse. As bad as any of these situations are, they are exacerbated when the abuse results from racial or ethnic prejudice.
A Michigan family thinks bias may have played a part in the abuse suffered by their 89-year-old relative at Autumnwood of Livonia, and have filed suit against the facility. The man’s son captured his father’s mistreatment via a hidden camera.
A Video Alarm Clock
In 2015, Hussein Younes entered the nursing home to recuperate from bowel obstruction surgery. Younes, an Arab-American, was born and raised in Lebanon. His son began noticing that his father had cuts and bruises, and had lost a good deal of weight.
The father said he was not being treated well. Nursing home staff claimed Younes frequently fell, resulting in the lacerations and bruises on his body. His son grew suspicious and decided to install a hidden camera in his father’s bedside alarm clock. In just two days, 100 clips of apparent neglect were captured by the camera.
According to the lawsuit, when he asked for help Younes was subject to ethnic slurs used against him by staff. The alleged abuse includes being run into a wall while in a wheelchair, harming his legs; having his legs kicked to get him to walk; denial of water and having his call button removed.
The family removed Younes from Autumnwood at Livonia soon after seeing the video images. The son told a local paper that after viewing the video, "I was shocked," he said. "I did not believe what I was seeing."
The Nursing Home Responds
Allegations are one thing – video confirmation of abuse and neglect is another. The nursing home, which did not know of the video’s existence until several months after the family had removed Younes, apparently followed procedures after the family’s complaint and reported the accusation to the local police department.
It also conducted an internal investigation and notified the proper government agencies. At that time, the nursing home claims it couldn’t support the allegations made by Younes’ family. When the video surfaced, a new investigation was launched, which resulted in the termination of the staff depicted abusing Younes.
Other nursing home employees are receiving “additional training.” The facility’s lawyer issued a statement proclaiming, “The actions depicted in the video are in no way illustrative of the quality care that is provided by the caring staff at Autumnwood on a daily basis.”
When Due Diligence is Not Enough
Putting a family member in a nursing home is not an easy decision, and most families go that route only when there is no alternative for their loved one. Of course, the family must perform their due diligence and find the best nursing home possible.
In reality, however, even the best due diligence is often insufficient. What the nursing home tells the family and what actually occurs during patient care is not always accurate. Modern technology makes videoing patient care a possible alternative, but there’s another option that families may use if they suspect something is not right with the way a nursing home is treating a loved one.
That is hiring a private investigator.
The Investigation Process
A private investigator represents a patient’s family, and for that reason is allowed to walk into a nursing home and immediately see a patient. That’s the way a PI works – there’s no waiting while staff tidies up a room or patient. The investigator looks at the condition of the patient, and for any telltale signs of abuse or neglect.
They survey the cleanliness and orderliness of the patient’s room. The investigator speaks to the person, inquiring about meals, medication, and other pertinent subjects. They also note how the patient reacts to staff. If the relationship with staff members seems fine, that’s a good sign.
Any indication of nervousness or fear is the opposite. The investigator then reports their findings to the family.
Private Investigator Considerations
If you’re thinking about hiring a private investigator to check on your loved one’s welfare, there’s some due diligence you must do in this regard. Make sure the private investigator is licensed, and that they can testify in a court of law, if necessary. Make sure the PI’s fee structure is disclosed and specific before hiring them.
Think you may have a case? We are happy to listen and see if we can help. In an emergency, call 911 and report the incident to police and then call us. The quicker you call, the more effective we can be in finding witnesses and making sure video surveillance evidence is preserved.
For more information, contact us ONLINE, by email [hidden email] or toll-free at 833.201.1555. All inquiries are kept confidential and there is never a fee for a consultation. If we or one of our partners takes your case, there are generally no fees or costs unless we win your case and recover money for you.