The City of Oslo has been cleared of providing elder care that was so deficient that two elderly women died. A local court found “potential for improvement,” however, on several points.
The city was charged with failing to adequately provide home care for two elderly women, one of whom suffered severe dementia. She froze to death after leaving her Oslo apartment and going outdoors in the middle of the night, dressed only in a thin nightgown. Another elderly woman was believed to have been lying dead in her Oslo apartment for at least two weeks before she was found.
Prosecutors initially charged the city with gross negligence, with police claiming the women should have been placed in nursing homes. New information made available during the course of the trial, however, prompted prosecutors to change their view on the circumstances behind the care the women received.
The city avoided paying a fine of NOK 500,000 and the court ruled the women had in fact received adequate care and treatment, despite state health authorities’ earlier conclusion to the contrary. The judge suggested improvements in how nursing home evaluations are conducted, however, to speed admission when patients are not coping well at home.