Eliza Jennings resided at The Terrace Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Berea, KY from 2004 until her death in 2009, and during that time she endured unimaginable living conditions and neglect by the facility’s staff.
Eliza was a postmaster for Berea College who worked up until the age of 80. As she approached the end of her life, Eliza’s family brought her to The Terrace, a facility that “recognizes the dignity of every person and the unique needs of each individual,” according to their website.
Instead, Eliza experienced lazy treatment that resulted in deep bedsores, leaving her nerve endings exposed. She developed multiple infections, including E. Coli, and lost the use of her arms and legs due to a lack of range of motion exercises. For extended periods of time, Eliza was left lying in feces and urine.
Evidence that was presented during the trial against The Terrace revealed that the nursing home had a policy for saving money on adult briefs that left many residents in wet briefs for long periods of time.
Eliza’s family launched a lawsuit after learning of these horrific practices, and just recently won their case against The Terrace.
Cases like Eliza’s are particularly tragic because elderly victims are extremely vulnerable and often times are unable to communicate their experiences to their families. While lawsuits that crack down on negligent practices like these certainly send a message to other nursing homes, incidents of nursing home negligence and abuse do not seem to be waning.
In June, surveillance video surfaced revealing the mistreatment of an elderly man with physical and mental disabilities at a Queens nursing home.
The video shows a worker at Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center putting on rubber gloves before dragging the elderly man across the floor and into his room. When the elderly man emerged 25 minutes later, he was bleeding from his jaw. Two other aid workers watched the abuse take place and failed to act on the man’s behalf.
The elderly man was subsequently taken to a hospital with head and spinal injuries, and all three workers were arraigned on felony charges.
As long as incidents like these remain so prevalent, it is important to remember to research the nursing homes you choose for your loved ones, and to stay vigilant for signs of abuse.
Sources: Hutchinson, Bill and Eli Rosenberg, “Workers accused of abusing, leaving disabled patient bloody on floor at Queens nursing home,” New York Daily News, 24 June 2015.
Meehan, Mary, “Jury awards $18 million in wrongful-death case against Berea nursing home,” Lexington Herald-Leader, 30 June 2015.