Elderly veteran ‘badly’ needed help after nursing home staff neglected him, woman says

State investigation shows claims made against Huber Heights nursing home unsubstantiated 

The Ohio Department of Health said the claims made by a family on social media regarding care concerns at The Laurels of Huber Heights were found to be unsubstantiated, according to a spokesperson.

The Laurels of Huber Heights also issued a statement Monday morning, which read in part:

“While it is impossible to undo the damage that was done to our reputation from the unfounded allegations in the viral social media post, we have also experienced something positive.  Throughout this difficult experience, we have received an outpouring of support from our community partners, our residents and their families.”

UPDATE @ 6:59 p.m. (March 2): Laurels of Huber Heights released a statement Friday, in addition to comments issued Feb. 27 following our initial story.

“On February 26, 2018, we were notified that a family member of one of our residents posted to social media their care concerns. The Laurels of Huber Heights takes all concerns seriously and has systems in place to review and address them,” the statement read.  “Immediately, our management attempted to reach family members of this resident to discuss and address their concerns; we will continue attempts to communicate directly with them, until this can be discussed and resolved.”

Read the statement released Friday, in its entirety, here:

INITIAL REPORT (Feb. 26):

An area nursing home says it’s investigating after relatives of one of its resident posted on social media Sunday that the man was being neglected. 

Sara Vagedes wrote in a Facebook post that her 89-year-old grandfather was ‘badly’ in need of attention when she visited him at Laurels of Huber Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers on Sunday afternoon.

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The elderly man, also a veteran, was aspirating with food piled up in his brace, fruit punch spilled across the bed sheets and trash everywhere, Vagedes said during a phone interview Monday. 

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"We are aware of comments and concerns that were made via social media about a resident in our care,” officials at the facility said in a statement, declining to be interviewed. “We take all concerns very seriously, are investigating the concerns that were posted and will complete a full investigation as well as cooperate with all external regulatory agencies as necessary.”

Vagedes’ Facebook post, which included photos of her grandfather, went viral, and was shared nearly 20,000 times. 

A reporter talked to a relative of another resident at Laurels of Huber Heights on Monday. 

WHIO-TV reporter Lauren Clark asked the woman, who did not want to be identified, if she’d had any experience like the Vagedes family or if they’d had an OK experience. The woman told Clark, “so far we’ve had an OK experience.”

The woman went on to say, “I think they're really shorthanded here. And nobody can take care of a loved one like you can.”

The Ohio Department of Health would not confirm if it's investigating the specific incident described in Vagedes’ Facebook post. However, the agency in the past year has investigated nine complaints at Laurels of Huber Heights, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s website. 

For instance, in November, the facility was instructed to develop and implement neglect and abuse policies after the agency learned that one of the nursing home’s  employees had disqualifying criminal convictions for theft and drug possession.

But officials at the nursing home say all previous complaints have been resolved. 

Vagedes’ grandfather was transported to Grandview Medical Center and is in the intensive care unit, the family said.

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