Questions Persist Regarding Unexplained Fractures & Cuts On Nursing Home Patient

After finding their mother, Ms. Angela Guerra, with deep facial cuts and a fractured eye socket, the son and daughter still do not have a clear explanation of her injuries.  Ms. Guerra is a 57-year old woman suffering from dementia and is a resident of Woodridge Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Adams County, Colorado.

Unexplained Fractures & Cuts On Nursing Home PatientThe nursing home is a 95-bed facility that houses many patients suffering from dementia (problems with brain functions that result in memory loss and difficulty communicating), which puts these residents at increased risk of abuse and neglect.
The Medicare website gave Woodridge an overall rating of 2 out of 5 stars, which is a below average rating.  Moreover, the facility received only 1 out of 5 stars for health inspections, which is a much below average rating.  From July 2009 to September 2010, the facility suffered 31 total health deficiencies, which is seventeen more than the average number of health deficiencies in Colorado, and twenty-three more than the average number of health deficiencies in the United States.
Kayla and Joe, the resident’s children, say that the head of the nursing home, Ms. Angela Aragon-Herrera, will not show them the facility’s incident report.  They say that they were first told that their mother had run into a wall but was caught by two nurses.  Then, they were told that their mother ran full speed into a wall with only a maintenance man there to witness it.  The son says that the social worker told them that the surgeon reported that their mother’s injuries do not match the facility’s story about their mother hitting a wall.  The children are worried that their mother has been neglected because she was sent to the hospital ungroomed, dirty, with a full diaper, and a bad smell.
Woodridge has had several complaints filed against it with the Colorado Department of Public and Environment including failure to provide adequate supervision, improper sanitation, and insufficient food.  Three former employees of the facility allege that the facility had insufficient supplies, and that the facility manager would change medication orders without doctor approval.  The State is still investigating the claims of improperly following doctors’ medication orders.  (See “Woodridge Park Nursing and Rehabilitation – Occurrence Summary Reports”)

Ms. Guerra’s facial injuries and her dirty and unkempt appearance call into question Woodridge’s ability to provide safe and adequate treatment and supervision to its residents.  Ms. Guerra’s children reported that the facility was uncooperative when they tried to determine what had actually happened to their mother.  Without better care and communication with residents’ family members, this facility is putting itself at risk for future problems.   Injuries that go unexplainedI frequently get telephone calls from families who are concerned about the safety of family at nursing homes following the occurrence of unexplained injuries.  The reality is that we will probably never know what really happened in many of these incidents.  However, a thorough and timely investigation can help provide some insight to what may have occurred.Along these lines, I always encourage families to trust their instinct when they are presented with a suspicious circumstance surrounding an injury.  A careful analysis of the circumstances can provide answers and can help the family determine if they wish to pursue a claim or lawsuit against the facility.Common types of unexplained injuries that merit further investigation include:

  • Complaints of pain
  • Withdrawal
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Broken bones
  • Pressure sores

If you have a family member at a nursing home and are concerned that they might not be receiving adequate care and supervision, we would honor the opportunity to speak with you in order to address your concerns and discuss possible options to ensure that your loved one is receiving the best care possible.

For laws related to Colorado nursing homes, look here.

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