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Seven people were recently charged in the neglect of two Columbus nursing home patients, including an elderly man who “literally rotted to death,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

Yost’s announcement has drawn attention to the tragic but all-too-common problem of nursing home abuse in Ohio. Approximately 15,000 cases of Ohio elder abuse are reported each year, but the actual number of incidents is estimated to be as high as 215,000. As Ohio’s elderly population increases and Adult Protective Services funding decreases, the problem is expected to worsen.

When Ohio nursing homes fail to prevent elder abuse, they can be held accountable through legal action. Graham Law is dedicated to protecting Ohio’s seniors from abuse and neglect. If you suspect that a loved one is being mistreated at a care facility, contacting state agencies may not be enough. You may also need to speak with a lawyer.

“Crimes of the Worst Sort”

During a February 2019 press conference, AG Yost announced a total of 34 charges filed against seven nursing home workers in connection with the neglect of two patients. One patient died as a result of the neglect and the other suffered physical harm.

According to the AG’s office, a male patient at a Columbus nursing home developed serious wounds that turned gangrenous, leading to septic shock. A female patient did not receive care that nurses documented. Her medical records had forged signatures and indicated care at times when she was not even in the facility.

“We trust the doctors and the nurses and the staff at these facilities to care for those we love the most at their most vulnerable time in life,” said Yost, according to The Dispatch. “When they turn a callous eye and ignore what’s right in front of their faces and fail to provide the services and fail to provide for our loved ones, these are crimes of the worst sort.”

An investigation by the Ohio Department of Health found that employees put 123 residents at risk for serious harm. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) fined the nursing home more than $98,000.

Yost said the AG’s office will prosecute the cases “to the fullest extent of the law” and “get justice for these families.”

Ohio Nursing Home Care Falls Short

Ohio’s growing senior population is stretching thin already-low state support for Adult Protective Services (APS). A report from the State of Ohio found that additional funding of $11.7 million to $30.2 million is needed for caseworkers to prevent and address elder abuse, including neglect, exploitation, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.

Of Ohio’s 969 nursing homes, 158 have been found to have serious deficiencies, reports ProPublica. Families for Better Care gave Ohio an overall grade of “D” on its Nursing Home Report Cards. In America’s Health Rankings 2018 Senior Report, Ohio is ranked 34 out of 50.

In 2017, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office announced the Elder Justice Initiative, which is designed to, among other things, identify, investigate, and prosecute elder abuse cases. But with Ohio’s 60+ population expected to grow 50 percent from 2010 to 2040, the state can’t afford to seek justice for all elder abuse victims.

Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits

In addition to reporting suspected elder abuse to state agencies, possible instances of abuse and neglect should be discussed with an attorney at Graham Law.

A lawsuit against a nursing home and its workers can provide compensation for losses such as medical expenses and pain and suffering. During an investigation, we may also uncover criminal acts that may then be prosecuted in a criminal court.

If you believe that a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse at an Ohio nursing home, contact Graham Law for a free case review.

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