'We were very frightened’: Family reacts after walking in on 80-year-old relative slumped over in Canton, OH nursing home

Esther Brown’s loved ones say they found her that way at Altercare Nobles Pond in Canton over the weekend

'We were very frightened’: Family reacts after walking in on 80-year-old relative slumped over in Canton, OH nursing home
(Source: Provided to WOIO)

CANTON, OH (WOIO) - The heartbreaking photo of an elderly woman slumped over her pillow has been shared more than 25,000 times on Facebook.

The photo, which is hard to look at, has already been shared thousands of times. State agencies are investigating whether the Canton nursing home is at fault.

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Thursday, February 21, 2019

Julia Wiggins, the woman’s pastor, posted the photos to Facebook on Feb. 19.

The woman pictured is 80-year-old Esther Brown, a resident of Altercare Nobles Pond in Canton.

Her son, James Brown, said he will never forget how he found his mother.

“In the pillow. Her head was in the pillow face down and there was a cover over her head and over her shoulders," he said. “I walked over there, looked around and said, ‘What’s that?’ And I said, ‘That’s my mama.”’

Brown has filed a complaint with the facility about the care his mother is receiving.

No one from Altercare would go on camera, but sent this statement:

"On February 15, 2019, the Altercare Nobles Pond facility was made aware of a complaint regarding a patient. Upon receiving the complaint, the facility immediately reported the concern to the Ohio Department of Health. A representative from the Ohio Department of Health was on site at the Nobles Pond facility Feb. 21 and 22 to conduct an investigation.

This afternoon, Altercare Nobles Pond received the preliminary report from the Ohio Department of Health, which states that the complaint was found to be unsubstantiated. The report will be reviewed by the Akron district office of the Ohio Department of Health. Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health made no citations related to the complaint.

Altercare Nobles Pond has built a strong reputation for delivering high-quality patient care, as evidenced by its Five-Star rating by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as its American Health Care Association (AHCA) silver award for “Achievement in Quality.” The resident remains well cared for by the Altercare Nobles Pond team; she is comfortable and safe. Our team remains committed to providing compassionate, professional care to all residents."

However, a spokesman from the Ohio Department of Health says the investigation isn’t final.

In the meantime, Brown has been spending every night with his mother and Wiggins visits daily.

“You need to go visit your loved ones because if we walked in on that, we were very frightened that if we walked in on that, something bad could have happened if we hadn’t gotten there," said Wiggins.

Cleveland 19 News reporter, Sia Nyorkor, spoke to Beverley Laubert, State Long-Term Care Ombudsman with the Ohio Department of Aging regarding the allegations.

The department advocates for people receiving nursing home care, home care and assisted living.

Laubert said when they saw the social media post, it was “very disturbing” and “worthy of an investigation.”

Representatives visited with the family and Altercare Nobles Pond Thursday and Friday.

The Ombudsman offers these resources for those who have concerns about their loved ones:

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