Family files complaint against local nursing home

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Patti Moriarty smiles when she remembers her mother, Ruth Moriarty.

“She just had a love for life and her family,” said Patti.

Ruth, a devoted mother who was born and raised in North Tonawanda, died in June at the age of 86 after spending the last years of her life in a nursing home.


SPECIAL FEATURE | You can look up information on any nursing home in Western New York. Nursing homes can be looked up by name, by city or by rating. Mobile users can click this link to see the database

Patti said she and family members occasionally found their mother in “horrible” conditions during Ruth’s seven-year stay at Williamsville Suburban on South Union Road. They tried repeatedly but could not find another home that would take her.

“The facility was very dirty. Not clean, sanitary where they eat. Where they sleep. Where they live,” said Patti. “It broke my heart to see my mom in that condition.”

She said her mother could not speak or walk and had difficulty breathing, and suffered from sores on her skin during the final months of her life.

“The attention just wasn’t there,” Patti added.

She said the family expressed concern, not just about her mother’s care, but the care of other residents in the facility. The family recently filed a complaint with the state Department of Health, and retained a law firm to pursue a possible civil case.

In response, an attorney representing Williamsville Suburban told News 4 Investigates that Ruth was “highly regarded and loved by the staff.”

Attorney Richard Sullivan says the “family never complained about her treatment” during the seven years she was a resident there, adding, “We don’t understand what their complaints are about.”

Nursing Home Compare – a web site run by Medicare – tracks quality of care information on every Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. Williamsville Suburban has an overall rating of two out of five stars, which is below average, according to ratings updated Thursday. The home’s June rating was one star.

“We generally look to see if a nursing homes that are… recommend that people look at nursing homes that are in the upper range of four- to five-star and to be very concerned when there is… especially one- or two-stars for nursing homes,” said Richard Mollot, Executive Director of Long Term Care Community Coalition, which advocates nationally for consumers.

Mollot told News 4 Investigates that nursing homes industry-wide tend to be understaffed.

News 4 Investigates looked at 72 nursing homes from federal records in the Western New York region.

After analyzing the data from the Nursing Home Compare website, we discovered that more than half, 51 percent, are ranked average or lower; a third or 33 percent  had an overall rating of one or two stars.

Anyone can look up information on any nursing home in Western New York here. Nursing homes can be looked up by name, by city or by rating. Mobile users can click this link to see the database.

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