A few years ago, we talked about some of the more horrific cases of nursing home neglect and abuse around Wisconsin.
Despite tougher federal regulations, the abuse and neglect of elderly patients remains a problem in Wisconsin’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Below, we share
some of the most recent stories in nursing home abuse and neglect, including
some of the nursing home tragedies we’ve brought cases against.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a list of the 364 nursing homes that
exist in Wisconsin, and reports on their total number of deficiencies.
are regulatory requirements not being met in a given facility, and generally
denote some form of neglect or unsafe condition.
A ProPublica Report for Wisconsin nursing homes showed that
98 homes out of 364 have “serious deficiencies,” and many have had cases and
fines filed against them.
the worst offender on the list, Maplewood Center in West Allis, had 49
deficiencies from 2015 to 2018.
The most severe
deficiencies that garnered a $50,478 fine in 2018 included a resident who
complained of shortness of breath. When the on-call physician did not respond
and the facility staff failed to call the Medical Director as policy dictated,
the resident was sent to the hospital. She had to wait more than four hours
total for medical care.
In December 2017, our attorneys at Boller & Vaughan were involved with a heartbreaking negligence case.
Alice McGaw, a former resident of Faith Gardens Memory Care in Sun Prairie, died in December 2017 outside of the facility. Hypothermia was likely a factor in her death, authorities said.
McGaw had a
diagnosis of dementia when she was admitted to Faith Gardens in October 2017.
The Faith Gardens staff were made aware of McGaw’s “wandering behaviors” and
promised her family that they would “keep her safe.”
the night on December 28 and 29, McGaw walked out of Faith Gardens wearing only
her pajamas and socks, without her walker, in sub-freezing temperatures across
a parking lot filled with snow. McGaw may have fallen in the parking lot before
crawling on her hands and knees, eventually freezing to death.
trusted Faith Gardens to keep McGaw safe, yet McGaw was able to leave the
facility due to lax security and inattentive staff.
In July 2019,
an employee of a Sheboygan nursing home was charged with four felonies related
to two separate incidents of assault and negligence. David Stephen Boozer, 66, was charged
with two counts of intentionally subjecting an at-risk individual to abuse, as
well as two counts of aggravated battery to the elderly.
coworker, who worked on a floor for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s, said
she saw him use violence to get a patient back to his room, including punching
the patient in the chest.
also claimed that after Boozer returned the patient to his room in a
wheelchair, the coworker found the wheelchair tipped over and the patient on
the floor. Boozer later struck this same patient in the legs with a wheelchair,
and forcibly dragged him out of another patient’s room by the shirt.
had previously reported Boozer to the nursing home’s administration for
negligence, including an incident in which he refused to provide needed
medications to dying patients.
In May 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) investigated Maplewood of Sauk Prairie in Sauk City after a female resident told the staff that another resident entered her room and groped her.
Resident Galen J. Malisch is a registered sex offender and employee at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie nursing home. Many were aware of his background but failed to prevent him from abusing three residents at the facility.
social worker said she informed Maplewood’s administrator, Paul Fiscus, and the
facility’s nursing director, Joni Blau, that Malisch was a registered sex
offender, assuming that the administrative officials would take care of the
denied knowing about Malisch’s status until after the incident in May occurred.
Fiscus didn’t comment on the matter.
uncovered other troubling information as well.
interviews with multiple employees, they found that Fiscus and Blau attempted
to intimidate multiple employees “if they said too much” to investigators.
Since then, the
facility has been under scrutiny to ensure that the work environment and
leadership improves. The investigation against Malisch remains open.
going digital in today’s world, new acts that invade the privacy of nursing home residents are cropping
nursing home employee Alexis Collum took photos of residents at Luther Manor in
Milwaukee and uploaded them to her Snapchat account. She received probation for
employee Moriah Goodlette at Milwaukee Catholic Home admitted to making a video
of a resident and posting it on social media. She also received probation.
reached out to Luther Manor and Milwaukee Catholic Home for comment, a human
sources representative at Luther Manor stated that Collum’s name was not in its
system. Milwaukee Catholic stated that Goodlette never worked for them.
like these, Wisconsin families may feel like nursing homes are not safe for
their aging loved ones. However, there are a number of consumer resources for
choosing safe nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and reporting
suspected neglect and abuse.
Wisconsin DHS, for example, provides a guide to finding and choosing a nursing home. This resource includes information about nursing home regulations, a county-by-county directory of care providers, and factors to consider when selecting a nursing home or assisted-living center.
Through the Division of Quality Assurance, the Wisconsin DHS also offers information about and details for registering complaints regarding nursing homes and assisted-living care.
This site also
addresses complaints regarding facilities that serve those with developmental
disabilities, as well as agencies that provide hospice and at-home health care.
personal injury attorneys at Boller & Vaughan have won
a number of cases
against facilities charged with elder abuse and neglect, including one of the
largest assisted living verdicts in Wisconsin history.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse in a nursing home or assisted-care center, please call us at 608-268-0268 for your free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.
You can also learn more about us and how we can support you by following us on Twitter or ‘liking’ our law firm on Facebook.
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