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Murder case highlights nursing home responsibilities, residents' rights

June 23, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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A five-year-old case in which a nursing home resident with dementia remains accused of strangling her roommate to death is continuing to raise issues of resident rights, family requests and legal responsibilities for long-term care providers.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court is expected to rule soon on whether a wrongful-death lawsuit, brought by the victim's son against the facility and its owners and operators, can proceed, reports the Associated Press (AP). In 2012, an arbitrator had ruled in favor of the nursing home and found no negligence, according to the AP.

Scott Barrow, son of victim Elizabeth Barrow, maintains that the nursing home did not separate the two women despite his request, and the nursing home maintains that the residents declined offers to relocate them, the media report says. The alledged perpetrator, Laura Lundquist, is now 102 and has lived in a psychiatric hospital since Barrow was found in bed with a plastic bag tied around her head. Lundquist still faces a second-degree murder charge; prosecutors are keeping the charge on the books in case her cognitive status changes.

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