Daughters Accuse Nursing Home Staff Of Hitting Their Mother After She Suffers Mysterious Bruise On Her Face

| by Lisa Fogarty

Two women in New Jersey are demanding an investigation into a nursing facility whose staff members they believe may have hit their 76-year-old mother.

Alison Scioscia and Debbie Noce say they aren't buying the excuse they were given after their mother, Rosemarie Terlizzi, sustained a nasty bruise to her eye and face during the last night of her stay at Care One at Holmdel, reports the Brick Patch.

"They believe she hit her face on the fax machine behind the nurses' station," Noce and Scioscia each said, the Brick Patch reports. But they say they are more inclined to believe their mother, who told police: "they hit me." The elderly woman then failed to elaborate on the injury, but told the patrolman that she no longer wanted to stay at Care One.

But the staff at Care One's Holmdel facility has a different explanation for her injury.

"We do not comment on specific matters related to patients treated at our center in accordance with privacy and HIPAA guidelines," said Teri Rufo, assistant administrator at Care One at Holmdel, in an email sent to the Patch. "Regarding this particular issue, however, we are comfortable with the investigation conducted by the local authorities which concluded there was no sign of a fall or assault with the patient in question. These findings are consistent with our own investigation."

But Care One's statement allegedly doesn't match up with a report submitted by Holmdel Township Patrolman Joseph Van Pelt, which was less conclusive.

"I inspected the area of injury on her face; she had a large contusion surrounding her left eye, the upper part of her left cheek and the side of her face which extended up around the side of the forehead," the report stated. "There were no lacerations or any other evident injury which would indicate if the mechanism was an assault or fall, or if it was accidental or intentionally caused."

Although the nursing facility was cited for 11 violations by the state Department of Health in 2014, there have been no previous allegations of patient abuse. 

"It is an ongoing investigation," said Donna Leusner, director of communications for the New Jersey Department of Health. "At the conclusion of the investigation, any survey reports issued and corrective actions plans required can be obtained by filing an OPRA request."

In July, a study prepared by the Special Investifgations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found that 30 percent of all nursing homes in the United States were cited for nearly 9,000 instances of elder abuse from January 1999 to January 2001, reports ABC News. 

In 1,601 of the cases, the abuse was serious enough to cause significant harm to patients and/or threaten their lives. Examples of abusive behaviors that were reported include malnutrition, untreated bedsores, dehydration, preventable accidents, inadequate sanitation and hygiene, and inadequate medical care. 

Sources: Brick Patch, ABC News

Photo Credit: Brick Patch