Representations made in promotional materials and through staff at the facility are frequently a determining factor in facilities selecting one facility over another.
No doubt that inflated assurances are routinely made by personnel (salesmen) to close a sale of a product or service. While some of the assurances may ultimately prove to be false— and perhaps a source of frustration to the individual to which they were made—at the end of the day they really are nothing more than (expensive) annoyances— but usually the person can simply pick-up and move along.
Contrastingly, in the nursing home context, such assurances derive far more importance and are can frequently mean the difference between a patient thriving and significant deterioration of the patient due to the fact that the facility was not a proper place for the individual in the first place.
Particularly when it comes to caring for specific medical complications— such as ventilator care, dialysis, or wound care— families commonly need to rely on representations made by facilities because most of the common tools used in the selection of a facility fail to address ratings for the specific types of care that the patient requires.
I recently read about a situation where such inflated representations resulted in the rapid deterioration— and ultimate death of a patient. A recently filed nursing home lawsuit by a family in California alleges that just one month after their mother entered Petaluma Health and Rehabilitation (a skilled nursing home owned by Evergreen Healthcare) for specialized wound care, the woman’s pressure sores quickly advanced to the point that she required hospital care.
By the time the 90-year-old woman had been transferred to nearby Petaluma Valley Hospital the wounds had become so large and infected that the hospital staff reported the situation to the local ombudsman’s office for further investigation of suspected elder neglect.
According to claims made in the nursing home negligence lawsuit, the family selected Petaluma Health and Rehabilitation substantially based on documents that described the home as having experts in wound care.
While I confess to my lack of specific knowledge regarding the specifics of this particular case, I frequently request all admission paperwork and promotional materials as part of my request for production of documents in nursing home negligence lawsuits. Particularly, when it comes to specialized care—and wound care in particular—I find such materials extremely important in the prosecution of the underlying case. Sadly, I commonly find a substantial disconnect between these promotional representations made by the facility and the knowledge of the staff in terms to how to carry out such care.
As a caregiver, who’s family or friend may require a specific type of nursing care, you may wish to request a meeting with the supervisor in the department as for your own reassurance that the facility really is capable of providing such care.
Petaluma Nursing Facility Sued for Elder Abuse, Neglect, by Karina Loffee, Petaluma Patch October 21, 2011