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Nursing home death raises questions, concerns

A nightmare scenario for those with loved ones in nursing homes recently occurred at the Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Buffalo. Following the death of a patient, a local organization is giving out tips to people who may be in the process of selecting a nursing home for their loved ones.Two patients at the home got into a fight last week that left an 83-year-old woman dead from her injuries. The victim mistakenly walked into another room at Emerald South Nursing Home last Friday morning and was attacked by a male resident in his 80s.

Both patients suffered from dementia. Doctors told police the victim suffered facial lacerations, a broken nose, broken ribs and a collapsed lung. An autopsy showed that the injuries to the woman, who was in poor health, contributed to her death. The woman died Sunday.

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York spokesperson Melanie McGovern says preparation and research is vital. She says one issue is that there is a lack of accredited nursing homes in the area.

“We don't have a lot of accredited nursing homes in upstate New York. It’s just an area that, I guess, they haven’t sought out accreditation,” said McGovern.

Emerald South held a one-star rating on Medicare.gov and a below-average quality rating.

“We accredit nursing homes. If they are a for-profit organization and pass the standards for accreditation we will accredit nursing homes. We do report on some nursing homes if there are inquiries from the public,” McGovern said.

McGovern advises people to visit prospective homes multiple times on different days to see how they are run on a day-to-day basis.

Local authorities and the New York State Department of Health are investigating the woman's death.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.