Nursing home murder victim’s roommate needed psych evaluation

About 36 hours prior to the death of a New Orleans 95 year-old nursing home resident, staff members decided to seek a psychiatric evaluation of her 71 year-old roommate. Unfortunately, the staff was unable to contact her doctor and the 71 year-old later bludgeoned the 95 year-old to death with a metal drawer handle. The nursing home’s failure to get in touch with a doctor is one of several nursing home abuse and neglect deficiencies cited by the Department of Health and Hospitals in a recent report.

The state’s report on the nursing home expresses concern that more attention was not paid to the 71 year-old’s psychiatric need. Her diagnoses included major depression, dementia, and hypertension. Moreover, she had punched another resident just three days prior to the murder. Social workers repeatedly noted the 71 year-old resident’s anger and social difficulties, stating that she had persistent anger and was socially inappropriate with disruptive behavior.

This type of situation and the recent sexual assault by an employee of a resident indicates the serious necessity for intense oversight in nursing homes. Nursing homes should be a safe place for senior citizens free of nursing home abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, they are safe neither from their caretakers nor their peers and roommates.

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