WHITEHALL, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- A large red sore across his back, yellow film across the pillow, food on the floor, and a filthy air conditioner. A Central Ohio woman took pictures of what she saw at her 90-year-old grandfather's nursing home, but says they can't capture what she calls neglect and abuse that she saw with her own eyes.
“He is 90 years old and he is a navy vet. His wife just passed away back in July and the conditions he’s living in are not acceptable,” said Dawn, who we are only identifying by first name. "It makes me cry when I leave the nursing home."
The family was so concerned about the care - or report lack of it - that they filed a report with Whitehall Police against The Manor at Whitehall nursing home, alleging elder abuse and neglect.
Dawn says she took the pictures during a visit with her grandpa in early September. The next day she says it only seemed worse.
"Not only did he have a complete yellow coating all over his blankets from the ooziness and the puss on his back, he was also bleeding at this point," Dawn said.
A nurse reportedly told the family that the 90-year-old, who has dementia, was being treated for a yeast infection and assured them he would be turned every hour for better air-flow.
"I sat with my grandpa who was on on his back for over an hour and I said 'have they turned you today?' and he said no. In fact he said 'my arm is burning really bad right now'," Dawn said.
A doctor at the nursing home later revealed tests showed their grandfather had a staph infection, according to the family. The next day he was in the hospital. "Dehydration, he has pneumonia on top of it, and also dried kidneys," Dawn said going through the list of problems found.
That's when Dawn's sister filed a police report. Whitehall police say the case was turned over to the state long term care bureau.
“I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I don’t see how people could allow that,” said Dawn.
ABC 6 On Your Side Investigates went to the the Ohio Department of Health to find out what's been done with the case. Officials wouldn't say if they looked into this specific complaint but said they did investigate a complaint around that time and didn’t find evidence to support it. Yet, surveyors did find deficiencies that led to 8 citations.
ODH says the deficiencies related to care planning, documentation of code status, lack of reference checks for state tested nurse aides, failure to develop a baseline care plan, catheter care, lack of response to pharmacy recommendations, dental services, and accuracy of records.
The Manor at Whitehall has until October 11th to submit a plan to ODH on how the facility is correcting the deficiencies.
The Department of Aging says it's investigating, and long-term ombudsman staff have a regular presence at the Manor at Whitehall.
The Ohio Attorney General’s office says it received 143 complaints about Medicaid patient abuse and neglect from January 2017 to this September in central Ohio. Eighty-one investigations by the AG’s office led to five indictments and five convictions.
“Ideally, we want everyone to get great care,” said Susan Marshall, executive director for the Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services.
Marshall says her organization puts families in touch with the right people to get help for a loved one, and says families should document everything.
“The more details you can give the easier it’s going to be the faster it’s going to be to get a change,” said Marshall.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid uses a 5-star system to rate all nursing homes based on health care inspections, staffing and quality of care. Right now, The Manor at Whitehall is a one star nursing home.The same facility had been on a federal watch list. But this January, CMS says the nursing home graduated from its Special Focus Facility program.
“For that to be okay in society to me is not okay,” said Dawn.
When pressed for answers about recent allegations and its one star raiting, a lawyer for The Manor at Whitehall's owner, Saber Healthcare, sent this statement:
“At all times, the facility acted in the best interest of its residents and promotes their health, safety and welfare. A unitary star rating determined from afar by folks who may not have ever visited the facility does not accurately reflect the quality of care the facility provides and the number of positive outcomes encountered by residents and their families.”
Dawn disagrees. “If I could shut them down, I would have them shut down."
She says her grandfather is now out of the hospital and back at The Manor at Whitehall. Dawn quit her job to spend what little time they may have together doing what she can for him. But she also says she can't sit idle and watch him whittle away in pain.
“I think some laws need to be changed; I think that’s our best avenue at this point. And my grandpa will probably be gone by the time anything happens but you know what if I can save somebody else I think that’ll be fine,” said Dawn.