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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

No staff showed up while Korean senior was beaten for 3 hours

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SEIU Local 2015 workers at Nursing Home are picketing to demand improved working conditions. [Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]
Instances of Korean seniors experiencing various forms of abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been widely reported.

On June 24, a Chinese caregiver killed two elderly Korean women at the Happy Home Care for the Elderly, a Korean American-run assisted living facility in Diamond Bar. This tragic incident has sparked calls for increased oversight.

A law firm in Koreatown revealed on the condition of anonymity that, in the past year, six Korean seniors have filed lawsuits seeking damages for alleged abuse at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. These seniors claim to have suffered physical and emotional harm due to negligence on the part of the care facilities. Some have sustained serious injuries, including fractures caused by their roommates.

“Apart from the lawsuit filings, the number of cases increases if counseling is taken into account,” said a representative from the law firm. “Most of the cases involve Korean seniors aged 74 to 84 who were victimized in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.”

One case involves Senior A, an elderly Korean man in his 80s, who suffered a fracture as a result of an assault by his roommate, who had dementia. Despite Senior A’s request to change rooms due to ongoing conflicts with his roommate, his plea was ignored by the director and head nurse of the nursing home. Eventually, the roommate threw Senior A into the hallway, resulting in multiple broken bones and necessitating surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Mismanagement within nursing homes and assisted living facilities exacerbates the issue. Some facilities overlook the importance of nighttime security and nursing staffing, making it challenging to respond promptly to arguments or assaults between seniors.

Senior B, a Korean woman in her 70s, had her front teeth knocked out and suffered facial bruises after being beaten by her roommate. Throughout the assault, which lasted from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., there were allegedly no security guards or nurses on duty at the nursing home. Senior B lamented the lack of staff during the incident.

The head of the law firm stated, “After receiving requests for lawsuits, we visited several nursing homes in Koreatown and found many places where providing adequate medical treatment and management was difficult due to the high patient-to-staff ratio.”

“In particular, these facilities should carefully assess each patient’s situation and pay attention to room assignments. By placing general patients and those with dementia together, accidents seem to be on the rise.”

Meanwhile, attentive family involvement was found to be the most crucial factor in preventing senior abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Family members should regularly visit and check on the well-being of their seniors, as well as file complaints to address any issues before they escalate.

In the event of senior abuse at a facility, it is advisable to send an email or written “complaint and remedy” to the facility. A written record can serve as valuable “evidence” in potential future lawsuits.

The law firm emphasized the importance of maintaining consistent statements and securing witnesses from the affected seniors. Some victims may struggle to provide consistent testimonies, making it crucial to gather witnesses within the facility to substantiate their cases.

BY HYOUNGJAE KIM    [support@koreadaily.com]