Family Urges Others to Make Surprise Visits to Nursing Homes After Mom Is Found Alone ‘Gasping for Breath’

After the son on an 80-year old patient revealed he found her slumped over on an office desk, choked by her own saliva, a nursing home in Ohio is raising concerns.

At the time of the accident, Esther Brown was receiving nursing home care and assisted living care at Altercare Nobles Pond in Canton, and her son, James, was with the family’s pastor when he decided to visit the facility unexpectedly.

During his late-night visit, he found Esther face down in a pillow while in a private room alone.

The disheartening sight made their pastor, Julia Wiggins, share two jarring photos of the elderly woman to convince families of other patients to make surprise visits to nursing facilities and check their loved ones there.

In a Facebook post, Wiggins explained she had taken James home to change his clothes, and when they returned, Esther was moved to a private room.

Dear Facebook family and friends, this is how we found our dear Mother Esther Brown at the nursing home for…

Posted by Julia Wiggins on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

She wrote that she had noticed something in the corner of the nurses’ station, and when they approached the subject, they found it was Mother Esther Brown, face down into a soft pillow gasping for breath and strangling on her own saliva. She also wrote that they started banging on doors and yelling for help for about 5 to 10 minutes before someone came to help.

As her son started to cry out, her mother heard his voice, and tried with all her might to raise her head.  They couldn’t even recognize that it was a person when they saw it first. Julia says she initially thought it was a cat that they had brought in.

This situation made her urge other people to visit the facility, especially in the evenings, to ensure that their loved ones receive the proper care.

She says that if they do not listen to her advice, they might be preparing for a home going service before they were ready to do one. She admitted calling the Executive Director Saturday night and she finally got back to her later Monday afternoon.

Her posted photos quickly went viral and urged an investigation with the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Aging.

Yet, some of the healthcare workers including nurses and CNAs said that the woman may have been placed in such a position at the nurse’s station for her own safety, as dementia patients can have incredible strength and dexterity, possibly leading to a situation like this.

However, the family understandably asked to investigate the matter.

After the family filed a complaint against Altercare Nobles Pond, the facility responded that they were informed of it on February 15, 2019, and have followed the protocol established regarding any allegation, including immediately reporting the concern to the Ohio Department of Health and completing an internal investigation.

The Browns are sure their loved one was neglected there, and the health department and the care center are investigating their allegations. Watch the video to hear the story told by Esther’s family: