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Complaint against Pennsylvania nursing home changes care standard

Each day families throughout the nation make the difficult decision to place their loved ones in a nursing home, assuming that there they will receive the health care they regularly need. For some people, the caregivers to whom they entrust their loved ones fail to live up to their expectations. Sometimes these failures take the form of injuries or abuse to the resident. In other cases they result in death.

The husband of one woman who tragically lost her life after a short stay in a Pennsylvania nursing home was recently part of the reason that nursing home agreed to provide a higher standard of care to its residents. The man had filed a complaint against the nursing home after her death.

The man took his wife to the nursing home in 2008 due to her need for constant care. Prior to her move to the facility he had quit his job and taken care of her, himself, in the apartment the two shared. Suffering from both dementia as well as Parkinson's disease the 68-year-old woman was injured in a fall her first night there. When she refused food and beverages she was transported to a hospital. From there she was returned home and hospice care brought in.

Less than a month after her first night in the nursing home the woman died.

The complaint the man filed several months after the death of his wife led to the U.S. Attorney becoming aware of the situation. Though it took several years, the justice department succeeded in obtaining the higher standards as a part of the settlement and the man seems pleased with the result.

Results like this are not all that common. Instead, when a loved one is lost after receiving negligent care while staying in a nursing home many decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If successful, monetary damages are then awarded.

Source:, "After death, oversight up at nursing home," Harold Brubaker, Dec. 17, 2012

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