Senior Abuse and Neglect


I’ve been my aunt’s care giver for the last several years. This past January 2016 she was admitted to the hospital where she has been ever since.

On Friday (September 2, 2016) the hospital called to tell me that her condition has worsened. But they neglected to tell me that she had a terrible fall on Thursday night.
Do you think they would do an X-Ray to see if there are any broken bones in her 80 year old body???? …the answer is NO!!

Do you know why??? I was told because: “it is NOT standard protocol”.. ??? “The resident doctor was called (he never went to examine my aunt) he said it wasn’t necessary. The nurses took her vitals and everything seemed fine.”

My Aunt’s regular doctor was also notified but thought it wasn’t necessary because my aunt wasn’t complaining. However, she has dementia and they have her heavily sedated on Dilaudid. How much complaining can a sedated person do?


I went to see my aunt on Saturday and not one of the nursing staff told me about the fall. My aunt is heavily medicated so conversation was impossible.

Today, when I called to see how my aunt was doing, one of the nurses slipped up and mentioned “her fall”. I was outraged and demanded to know WHY an X-Ray wasn’t done.

Her answer: “it wasn’t deemed necessary”. The ONLY reason they are doing an X-Ray now is because I am screaming NEGLECT and it’s totally ABUSIVE to not do a precautionary X-Ray.

All I am asking for is some COMMON SENSE…when someone we love who is 80 years old, falls on a concrete floor, for the love of God, X-RAY HER FREAKING BODY so when you move her you don’t do any further potential damage if there is something broken.

Just because she has dementia and is already sedated as per her comfort measures, how can you rule out a broken bone just because her vitals seem to be ok? The nurses reasoning WHY an X-Ray wasn’t done: “because if she has a soft tissue injury it will not show up on an X-Ray”..

I pushed further and said, “Don’t you think it’s weird that she was walking on Thursday and Friday she hasn’t been able to walk or eat and required more pain meds to keep her comfortable?” Her response was, “she hasn’t eaten a lot of food so she might be too weak”.

But Saturday she was in more pain so they increased the pain medication….INSTEAD OF DOING A X-RAY????

I tried to talk with her on Saturday and she would open her eyes, cry and whimper, then fall back to sleep. I was there about 2.5 hours and there was no response out of her. She could only keep her eyes open for a minute or two at a time.

I do not know how to purse this neglect. Where do I go from here? When the X-Ray comes back and there is a broken bone…will they even tell me the truth?? I don’t know how to read an X-Ray.

If they’ve neglected to tell me the truth once, why would they start being honest now? I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if all those medical notes and records on my aunt and this incident are being scrubbed clean as I type this…

No other doctor wants to get involved because of the “good ‘ol boys club’ so where does this abuse go from here…??? NO WHERE….THAT’S WHY WE HAVE SUCH A SHITTY HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

Today my aunt is indicating pain in her left arm shoulder and lower part of body. So they have increased the meds again for comfort measures.

What makes the matter worse, she has dementia and is confused at the best of times. Even if she WOULD have the possibility to communicate, would anyone believe her???

After speaking with Charge Nurse, she said that they will now do an X-Ray and call me with the results. The charge nurse was sympathetic to my outrage but calmly kept reminding me that they were just following protocol.
How do I help my aunt? Where should I take this from here? What is the Protocol when a patient falls out of bed? Do dementia patients have a different protocol than other patients?

I have no intention of suing nor am I looking for any money or compensation, I only want care for my 80 year old aunt. Why is this asking too much?

This is only the beginning of the horror story. There is even more but for now, this is my plight for help.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Lorri Brewer



56 Responses

  1. Any RN or MD who isn’t a completely incompetent idiot can tell you if a patient has suffered from a significant fracture arm leg, hip, skull rib with complications) of a bone after a tumble….without a “precautionary” X-ray (whatever that is) If it’s a more minor fracture..toe, finger. or even a compression fracture of a vertebra. can wait until the patient has recouperated a little.
    A hairline fracture won’t show up for 10 days anyways.
    Keep advocating for her, but I hope you do feel more comfortable that their seeming lack of attention wasn’t likely incompetence or neglect. It could be they are in fact, doing the right thing.

    • Ya I am thinking if something broke or fractured, a normal indication is bruising swelling. Since there is no mention of that, the medical staff were probably not concerned. Sounds like a soft tissue injury and thats why they tell you it wont show on an xray. Perhaps physio or massage is more in order rather than an xray and more drugs.

    • Kylie Bergen Kylie Bergen says:

      I am an LPN and I am thoroughly trained in how to recognize injuries after a fall, so it isn’t just RNs and MDs 😉 That being said you are absolutely correct, they were likely just following policy based on their assessment of the injuries! That being said, I don’t agree with the lack of communication with the family and think OP does have a right to be upset about that.

    • Lorri Brewer Lorri Brewer says:

      The xray showed that she has a fractured pelvis. They were doing more tests today to see how severe

  2. Susan Swann Susan Swann says:

    I am so sorry – hopefully someone will be able to set you on the right path – Health Minister for sure; Minister in charge of Senior Care; Premier’s Office. There used to be a health ombudsman – don’t know if that office still exists – thank goodness your aunt has you watching out for her – hundreds of seniors don’t have anyone….

  3. Your MLA is the only thing I can think of. Elder abuse is rampant in the Canadian Health Care System. No system is perfect and we won’t expect that but as you say common sense and common decency have gone out with the waste water.

  4. good luck with this situation — hope you are able to get answers — glad she has you to voice her concerns — plz keep us readers updated — sending healing prayers her way — hugs to all <3

  5. I would be as mad as you !! It’s common sense!

  6. Thank you for sharing.

  7. This breaks my heart. Wishing her a speedy recovery. Hope you get some answers quick!!

  8. If she’s in the hospital there should be a patient advocate there. Ask for their information and talk to them about he situation.

  9. You can call Protection for Persons in Care and they may investigate. If you have power of attorney or other such legal authority you may be able to request a copy of her health records if you do not believe that they are giving you accurate information. An x-ray usually comes with a written report that you should be able to understand. Here’s a link for the health record request:

    They usually respond pretty quickly…

  10. Keep raising Hell; be her voice. It`s the only way their damn protocols will change. Don`t give up; or let up. I`m seething mad and I don`t even know your aunt or you.

  11. Your aunt is very fortunate to have someone who cares so deeply for her. With so many elders in our society without someone to care, love and advocate, it’s beautiful to see someone care so deeply. I’m not a doctor or nurse, so I can’t comment on her medical treatments, however it’s warming to see how much you care.

  12. Holy shit I’d lose my mind also…. call the head of the hospital and yes your mla.

  13. Lisa Hoff Lisa Hoff says:

    Call the hospital switchboard and ask for the number for patient concerns. They should be able to help address and navigate your concerns pertaining to her care.

  14. Colleen Rowe Colleen Rowe says:

    I went to school for health care aid and did my training in a long term care facility. I had 4 clients to get ready in morning and one was an older lady who was suffering dementia. Every time I touched her she wined and moaned. They then told me she fell out of the wheel chair after I left the day before. These clients are placed in front of window or tv and left there until bed. I went to the main desk and asked for a dr to come see her and after so long finally an xray and believe it she had broken her hip. Mind you night before they put her in bed and changed er clothes all with broken hip so you can only imagine the pain. All her family or little she had was in Calgary. Needless to say I did NOT go into the health car field. Those poor aids are over worked and under staffed plus only getting min wage. If clients don’t have family they are screwed but hard to blame the workers. Only so much they can do and it is one of the worse environments to work in. Good luck with your aunt. Be her voice.

    • I understand being over worked, but how long does it take to order an X-ray? That is a lame excuse and just passing the buck.

    • Colleen Rowe Colleen Rowe says:

      Oh indeed. Most of those places have a portable xray machine there

    • Sharon Houle Poulin aides don’t have the authority to order X-rays. The RN on staff can request one but it must be ordered by a Dr. In most facilities there is one or two nurses on the unit and the rest are aides doing the physical care. (I say most because every facility is different.) As an aide its out job to do the care and report any known or found issues. What’s done with issues from there is really out of our hands. We can advocate only so much. Keep in mind though, not all facilities or nursing staff/physicians are like the one the op is describing…

    • Ma Simm Ma Simm says:

      Pain Management also became an issue for our senior. Sometimes, between dosages, it became unbearable.

      Doctors usually make their rounds early in the morning. Ask the staff when the DOC is expected.

      We waited in the room for hours but finally got to see him.

      Our seniors pain med dosage frequency was adjusted and added to her CARE PLAN.

      That way she remain comfortable and pain free.

      Yes the system has protocols and routines. But a cookiecutter approach does not always work for individual patients, to meet their specific needs.

      Advocate. Become very involved. Communicate with health care providers, your seniors specific needs.

    • Lorri Brewer Lorri Brewer says:

      Hospital called yesterday to tell me my aunt has a fractured pelvis from her fall. They’re doing more tests today (i think she said CT) to get a more in depth look at how serious.

  15. A cranky old piece of shit called police on my friend because she has wind chimes.!!! They showed up! Why can’t you call police to the hospital????? Do it!!!!!

  16. Ma Simm Ma Simm says:

    For seniors to get proper care they need an advocate such as you. Don’t be rude but Assertive. Are you in charge of making health decisions on her behalf? If so, insist that you be kept informed.

    They tend to take notice if an advocate is present and vocal. My heart breaks for seniors who have no one to fight on their behalf. They get shuffled through the system.

    The truth? Seniors are discriminated against in the healthcare system because of their age. They’re seen as using precious resources and taking up beds. Unless you advocate on her behalf, the system dictates her health plan. They’ll use the excuse that their following their protocol. Thats BS. If a senior has a broken bone – an xray and treatment is required. Anything less is Withholding healthcare.

    Ask to speak to the facility Social Worker. Ask for an Assessment and that a CARE PLAN be developed. Ask for all documentation and keep it with you!

    “Ask them if they would allow THEIR mother or Grandma to be treated this way!!”

    Email the Health Minister. Call the Healthministers office. Ask them to look into this and follow up with you ASAP. If not, ask them if you need to contact the MEDIA with your story. Track All your communications, make notes and follow up. Make a notebook or diary to document EVERYTHING.

    This really works. They told me my senior would be sent to where a bed/space was available. I was told it could be as far away as FOX Creek. We live in the EDM area.

    I also got onto social media using the hashtag #seniorputoniceflo. Note: the Health Minister has a twitter account on the website below. Contact Premier Notley’s office as well via phone and email.

    Remarkably a bed in the area became available the next day.

    I fought for my seniors rights for 5 long years – at every turn. Looking back I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

    Fight for your senior! Advocate on her behalf. She deserves proper healthcare regardless of her age!

    • Ma Simm Ma Simm says:

      I justed wanted to add one thing. It may not apply to your Aunt, however, it was is quite common in senior female patients – as was in our senior.

      Our senior showed signs of confusion, irritability, trying to get up and took falls. This is often MISTAKEN for dementia. Our Facility Care Manager suggested she get tested for a Urinary Tract Infection ( UTI). The tests came back. She did have a UTI. She was put on antibiotics. Her confusion and irritability was reduced. UTIs can be chronic.

      I had no idea a UTI can affect a senior to the point that it changes their behavior and emotional state. It can be eleviated with simple antibiotics.

      I’m not saying this is the case with your Aunt. But its worth being looked at.
      Our senior went from trying to escape from her facility to being relatively calm and happy once her UTI was treated.

  17. Call Protection of person under care at 1-888-357-9339. File a complaint it will be investigated, although the outcome might not be what you think is correct. You should be able to discuss this with some form of hospital administration and get a meeting to discuss lack of care. In the hospital I work at, we have to fill out these forms called RLS. Ask to see this form or if one was filled out. Best if luck.

  18. Funny how this seems to be a norm so sorry to hear this and I wonder if it’s more common than not….. I know our system is not good if it’s not for family taking care of them allot would go unnoticed

  19. Dianne Slade Dianne Slade says:

    Every senior needs an advocate…especially when they enter the hospital.

  20. Looks like you have good advice and help on here. Call the numbers you have been given and DON’T STOP until you get this resolved. Your aunt needs you as her voice!!!

  21. You SHOULD sue. It’s the only way these negligent hospitals will ever get slapped around enough to hopefully change for the better. Good luck.

    • Ma Simm Ma Simm says:

      Sueing or threatening to sue has to be a LAST RESORT.

      The best approach is ASSERTIVE and Constant communication from an Advocate.

      The way to change this is Canadians have to be applauded enough to make this an issue that goes to the forefront of tge public eye.

      Most people, including myself, have no idea about seniors issues until you’re literally put in that situation and have to confront it.

      People need to remember that sooner or later we will all have either a loved one or even ourselves going into senior care.

    • Do you really think hospitals are negligent and it’s the staff that are the problem? Do you really think that?

  22. Terri Bee Terri Bee says:

    They legally have to phone the primary contact and inform them of the fall, I’m guessing your not the primary contact and your other family member did not inform you. You need to address your concerns to the care manager.

    • Lorri Brewer Lorri Brewer says:

      Sadly I am the only contact primary and only family she has. The unit manager called to tell me he was busy that day and it slipped his mind. That’s why I wasn’t contacted

  23. Kylie Bergen Kylie Bergen says:

    This is the link the the patient relations department for Alberta Health, they are the correct route to go. Please do contact them. I am a nurse myself, and we can scream until we are blue in the face, until the PUBLIC starts stepping up and complaining to the right resources things are not going to change.

  24. Unfortunately this is the norm with elderly dementia patients. This frustrates me to no end. They don’t give a dam cuz they follow protocol. Protocol has to change !!!

  25. I’m sorry to hear about your experience and your aunt’s fall. It is true that it is not standard to xray following a fall. The reason being is that most falls are injury free (major injuries). If we were to perform xrays for every single person following every single fall, it wouldn’t be possible. However, it is policy to disclose any fall to the immediate contact, regardless of harm or not. To answer your question, you can always call patient relations, contact the manager with your concerns, and write down your concerns and email the manager or higher.

  26. How wonderful to see a niece being a loving advocator for her Aunt, and I’m sure your parents also. They are very lucky, many of us seniors have no one to care and rely on. Its a scary future with our health care system.

  27. Makes me mad. My mom has dementia and is in a home. They sedate her so she’s like a zombie. I hate it so much. My brothers looking into having her mess changed.

  28. Definitely touch base with the Senior’s Advocate office. They might be your best first point of contact.'-Advocate-Office.aspx

  29. Lysa Lee Lysa Lee says:

    Are you the contact on her papers? If not….that’s why you weren’t called. And what’s in her chart when it comes to her care? Surgery on a 80yr old is tricky and most times the family won’t do surgery as having a loved on in bed on pain control is better then dying on the surgery table

  30. I’d also call CTV News.

  31. So, if I were in your position, I would first set up a meeting with the physician responsible for your family member. I would ask him/her about the incident and the current protocol (including the logic founding it). Then I would contact the hospital patient relations (contact the hospital info desk and they can provide you that information). You can also set up a meeting to speak with the manager of the unit where your family member is residing to discuss your concerns. If you feel one or more individuals very grossly neglected their role after speaking with them, you can contact their respective professional colleges and write a letter.

    My advice would be to try and remove as much emotion as possible from your dialogue. Writing out a list of your concerns is a good place to start in collecting your thoughts.

    You might be surprised to find out that many health professionals promote and welcome written letters to news/social media, colleges, and administration. It more often than not helps highlight need for development of improved protocols, increased staffing, and ultimately increased funding once the incident is fully investigated. Our healthcare has been stripped to bare bones. But despite that, excellent care is still being provided at high volume because of extremely hard working/dedicated and increasingly exhausted staff.


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