Good Elder Care Isn’t as Easy to Find as Hollywood Thinks

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Use state resources to find an appropriate facility and be vigilant for signs of nursing home abuse or neglect, advises Angela T. Vagotis Co., an Ohio-based law firm.

Angela Vagotis is a registered nurse attorney.

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The type of care, the direct and indirect costs, and the facility’s track record concerning patient care are just a few of the factors that go into deciding where a loved one will reside.

While the new movie “Robot & Frank” introduces personalized robotic attendants as a novel approach to elder care, people today are faced with much more difficult, real-life choices concerning the care of their loved ones, notes Angela Vagotis, an Ohio-based registered nurse attorney specializing in nursing home neglect and abuse.

“The number of decisions and factors that influence the ultimate choice can be overwhelming,” Vagotis said. “The type of care, the type of facility, the direct and indirect costs, the facility’s resident-to-staff ratio and track record concerning patient care, the person’s own concerns and preferences are just a few of the factors that go into deciding where a loved one will reside.”

The necessity to decide quickly in an emergency can make the situation even more difficult, she said. “In an ideal world, all of these factors would be researched, reviewed and weighed long before a decision is required. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.”

But Ohio residents who are looking for information and assistance in selecting a care provider can turn to several resources for help, including The Long-Term Care Consumer Guide, a website provided by the state of Ohio, Vagotis said.

The state website provides a list of helpful terms, as well as information on the different types of care that are available and a search function to help identify facilities that might meet a resident’s needs, she said. Other features include links to caregiver services, as well as information on how to recognize and report nursing home abuse.

“After all,” Vagotis said, “finding the right facility is really only the first step. Once a loved one enters a facility, relatives need to be continually vigilant to ensure that their resident isn’t a victim of abuse or nursing home neglect.”

Although “nursing home abuse” and “nursing home neglect” are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two, she said.

Abuse, which can be committed by staff members or fellow residents, is usually defined to include intentionally harmful activities like:

  •     Poking, slapping or rough treatment during caregiving
  •     Ridiculing, threatening or cursing at a resident
  •     Improper touching

Neglect, on the other hand, is usually classified as passive (an unintentional failure to meet a resident’s needs) or intentional (the purposeful failure to ensure a resident’s well-being), Vagotis said.

“If relatives suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected, it’s important to report those suspicions to authorities and to find a professional they can trust to help them through the process,” she said.

Angela T. Vagotis Co. LPA has provided legal representation to victims of birth injuries, nursing home abuse and neglect, and medical malpractice for 20 years. For more information, visit

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