ERIE COUNTY — A new law to further protect senior citizens in nursing homes was officially signed Friday by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
The "Ruthie's Law" requires nursing homes in Erie County to inform residents' guardians within two hours after he or she suffers an injury that requires hospital treatment.
The law is named after Ruth Murray, who was a nursing home resident who died in 2016 following a physical altercation with another resident. Carol Smith Kuszniaj, Murray's daughter, did not know about the incident and its seriousness for several hours after it happened.
"The law will give Erie County’s Commissioner of Senior Services updated data on the how often those types of altercations occur. The commissioner also has the ability to subpoena and review nursing home injury reports to ensure compliance," according to Poloncarz's office.
“Ruthie’s Law is a strong statement of support for our seniors and will ensure that family members are aware of what’s happening with their loved ones in nursing homes," Poloncarz said. "Families everywhere depend on quality care and timely notifications if something should occur that involves their relative and they should be notified as soon as possible if their loved one is injured."
The law will take effect once it is filed with the NYS Secretary of State.