Family sues Livonia nursing home over elder abuse that was caught on camera

LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) - There are disturbing allegations of abuse in a Livonia nursing home, with some of it caught on a hidden camera.

The family of the patient is suing; saying the abuse to their elderly father was partially motivated by race.

The allegations are hard to hear and even harder to see, a caretaker at Autumnwood telling her then 87-year-old patient to “shut up”, calling him derogatory names, and throwing him in and out of his wheelchair.

All of it was caught on a hidden camera over just 2 days - a sliver of the 6 months of alleged abuse.

Husein Younes, the then 87-year-old Lebanese man, went to Autumnwood for help to recover from a surgery in May of 2015.

The hidden camera was placed after Younes had been complaining for months about the behavior to his family.

“I raised concerns with the Autumnwood many times and they assured me everything would be taken care of,” says Husein’s son Salim Younes.

“This is one of the most troubling cases I have ever seen. It’s chilling and its literally a horror house and I would wish this on no one,” says the family attorney Jonathan Marko.

The lawsuit against autumnwood and its owner claims the abuse was racially motivated.

Autumnwood did release a statement that reads:

Autumnwood of Livonia takes any allegation of abuse and inappropriate care seriously, and exhaustively investigates such claims to ensure the safety of its residents. Autumnwood’s policy is not to comment on residents in their facility to protect their privacy, and to comply with privacy laws and regulations related to health information. However, now that a family of a former resident at Autumnwood of Livonia, the Younes family, who has filed a lawsuit against Autumnwood of Livonia, made the decision to publicly litigate their lawsuit in the press and make public allegations and information related to the care and condition of Mr. Younes, my client now has the right to make a public statement.

In December 2015, the Younes family’s attorney raised concerns to staff of Autumnwood of Livonia about the treatment of Mr. Younes after he had been discharged from the facility. The Younes family’s attorney informed staff that they believed that Mr. Younes had been abused at the facility. Despite requests for additional information, no details were offered. My client immediately conducted an internal investigation, reported the allegations to the state survey agency that regulates nursing homes, and reported the allegations to the local police department consistent with state and federal regulations. My client and the notified governmental agencies, were unable to substantiate the allegations with the information we had at the time.

Although the Younes family had in their possession in December 2015 a video that provided information related to the allegations of abuse, the existence of the video itself was not disclosed to my client until May of 2016, when the video was sent to my client along with a demand for payment of monetary damages. The actions depicted in the video are in no way illustrative of the quality care that is provided by the caring staff at Autumnwood on a daily basis. When Autumnwood received this new information and video, another internal investigation was immediately launched, and the new information provided by the Younes’ attorney, five months after the alleged incident, was turned over by Autumnwood to the state survey agency and law enforcement.

The employees identified from the video have been terminated, and additional training has been provided to all employees. Autumnwood continues to assist the involved state regulatory and law enforcement agencies with their investigations of the former staff and is committed to continuing to provide quality care to all of the residents and families they have the privilege to serve.

As the family has filed a civil complaint and the matter is in litigation, Autumnwood cannot comment any further.

Autumnwood claims early investigations by them, police and governing agencies before the video were unable to substantiate the claims made by the family.

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