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Recently, a nurse at my mom's care facility called my sister to report that there had been an "incident" involving Mom and another resident. The other resident is an elderly lady with a horrible disposition. She constantly swears, shouts, throws objects, and takes swings at residents and caretakers alike. She even charges at visitors with fists raised, swearing and screaming at them. My sister and I have both been on the receiving end of these tirades. According to the nurse, my mother was sitting in a chair in the dining room when this woman had one of her temper tantrums. She grabbed my mother's throat from behind and was squeezing it, apparently trying to choke her. The dining staff called for help and they pulled the woman away, but not before she had injured my mother's throat and, when Mom tried to pry her hands off, she grabbed her arm and twisted it, injuring Mom's shoulder. The nurse made very light of it when speaking with my sister. I got a similar story about the incident from Mom, who called me. However, while the nurse told my sister that Mom was "fine," Mom said everyone was running to the woman and coddling her - only one person, the administrator, checked to see the extent of my mother's injuries.


I phoned the nurse, asking for an incident report. He said I wasn't entitled to one due to the HIPAA law protecting the attacker's health information! I asked that the woman be either moved to the other wing of the facility or discharged before she hurt Mom or other residents. He replied that this could not be done.


Now my sister and I are concerned about our mother's safety. If I cannot get an incident report or assurance that this woman will be more closely controlled in the future, should I file a police report or consult an attorney and press charges against the woman and the facility?

I would certainly look for another home for mom and get her moved if the ombudsman doesn't get the attacker expelled. There are geriatric psych wards for people like that.
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Reply to surprise
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I work in a Memory Care community. Every single time there is an incident of violence between one resident toward another, the police is called in. The family of the injured party then has the right to press charges against the offender. That does not normally happen because of the disease of dementia at play; it serves no real purpose.

It certainly sounds like your mother's attacker suffers from dementia. I don't know if the care facility is a Memory Care or a SNF or an ALF, but whatever, you DO have rights, even if they are being ignored. At this point, I'd first speak to the Executive Director, Administrator or whoever is in charge of the entire facility for resolution. If you can't get satisfaction there, I'd report them to the Ombudsman and then get your mother moved out of there. If she cannot be safe where she lives, it's not a place she belongs at.

Best of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Usually many on this forum including myself, recommend calling 911 for the offender to get immediate psychiatric evaluation. Staff should have called the offenders family for that transport. Yet they could refuse.
You too could have called 911, not only for your mom's safety but to get police involved to get written documentation.
Speak to the administrator. You can also in your rights get a restraining order, which police documentation would have helped you. That would prove interesting to administration.
Mmeanwhile let us hope that the facility asks the offender to leave. Give a little time.
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Reply to MACinCT
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JoAnn, I think the OP means HIPAA is protecting the other woman (the attacker). I don't think the OP's PoA can override that. Only as it pertains to her own mother.

I also agree to taking her to hospital for check-up (not sure the timespan of when the incident occurred); and also to contact the ombudsman. Also, the staff was probably running to the other woman not to coddle her but to restrain her (hopefully). This whole thing is so horrible! The fact that the nurse called you directly is a signal that the facility has a history of hiding or not addressing serious or dangerous occurrences. Even if they move this woman, this facility can not be trusted. I hope you have options to move your mother. If not, stay on top of them like white on rice.
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Reply to Geaton777
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Who has medical POA. Because, that overrides HIPPA. A POA is privy to any Medical information. Seems like Mom is competent enough to put you and sisters down as people who can get her info.

This woman is a danger to other residents. As such, needs a psychic evaluation. Yes, you need to call your Ombudsman or the State inspection dept. Like said, you can ask that Mom be sent to the hospital for evaluation. I would document with pictures. The elderly bruise easily.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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worriedinCali Feb 24, 2020
Joann it’s the other party who is protected by HIPAA. The POA for the OPs mother does NOT override HIPAA for the woman who assaulted her. The OP was denied documentation because of the other womans HIPAA rights.
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There’s normally a guideline in place for behaviors a facility can not tolerate or manage, and this woman has certainly violated what should be taken by other residents. No way this should be okay. Your mother is a paying customer and you’re her advocate. You did well in talking to the nurse, now go to the next level up onsite, and also the ombudsman. Hoping you get some help soon, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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Call in an ombudsman now. This is a patient that is acting out with violence. She has apparently done this before. Demand that your mother have full examination of her injuries. Facilities often discharge patients that are unable to live peaceably after a trial of diagnosis and medications are not working. They are responsible for your mother's safety if they have a patient they are keeping who they fully understand is violent. At my brother's facility it was carefully explained to us on admission under what circumstances a patient must leave the facility. This was one.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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wow, I would be pissed beyond belief, and make an appointment to meet with the head of nursing, and ask if a police report had been filed
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