Abuse in Nursing Homes

Elder abuse in a nursing home can take a variety of forms.  Problems can include

  • Improper physical handling (resulting in bruises and fractures)
  • Neglect or inattention (resulting in bedsores and advanced infections)
  • Improper diet (feeding sugary foods to a diabetic)
  • Sexual abuse

According to one advocacy organization, dsc01149

“Up to 1 in 6 nursing home residents may be the victim of abuse or neglect every year.”(1)

While that figure is an estimate (there is a lack of comprehensive and consistent reporting across all states) and may err on the  high side, there are issues.

According to a new study from CNN,

“CNN exclusively found that the federal government has cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse at their facilities during this period [2010-2015].”(2)

That’s 1,000 homes out of a total of 15,600 (2014) (3).  There were a lot of other episodes that never reached visibility at the Federal level.

The CNN article is a particularly difficult read, with specific and detailed examples of sexual abuse of both male and female patients.  Unfortunately, it’s worth reading.

What you need to know:

  1. Nursing homes aren’t places to “park and forget” elderly relatives who can no longer live independently.  The absence of publicly available data about which facilities have had problems (especially repeat problems) means that all of them have to be monitored.  Nothing can be taken for granted.
  2. Patients in homes require an advocate who actively oversees the care being provided.
  3. The advocate needs to be someone who is willing to “kick ass and take names”, is observant (details are clues), is willing to visit at odd hours, and isn’t hesitant to get authorities (regulators and police) involved and force authorities to act when they are reluctant.
  4. Moving someone to a nursing home doesn’t “lighten the load”.  It simply changes the issues that have to be handled.

 


Sources:

  1. http://www.nursinghomeabuseguide.org/
  2. Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, “Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes,”  CNN, February 2017. http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/02/health/nursing-home-sex-abuse-investigation/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/nursing-home-care.htm
  4. The picture is of my wife and father at the nursing home where he spent the last years of his life.  There is no evidence of overt abuse at that facility, but there were issues in adherence to the living will document.
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3 comments

  1. [Crain: Sgt. Smith is well known and founder of the Association of Veteran Women Inc. This story has appeared in other sources, including The Dailey Grind (https://grinddaileyissues.com/2016/09/22/united-states-army-disabled-veteran-sergeant-kericia-e-smith-faces-third-heartbreaking-trauma-of-her-life/) and PRLOG (https://www.prlog.org/12606792-united-states-disabled-veteran-sergeant-kericia-smith-faces-third-trauma-of-her-life.html). I’m always cautious about publishing criticisms of specific companies. I have no interest in dealing with their lawyers. However, this story is in public domain and in searching I’ve found no contrary evidence. As she notes, there are excellent medical facilities, and some facilities or doctors that leave a lot to be desired. Without any guidance, it is very much “buyer beware.” If there is additional information relevant to this report, please let me know.]

    “Profits Over Patients”

    I am Sergeant Kericia E. Smith. I am a disabled veteran diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD], a trauma I acquired while on active duty. I was also my best friend’s primary caregiver, and is the reason why I want to tell you the story about my best friend who was admitted into Arlington Memorial Hospital for dehydration and a urinary tract infection, and who was later admitted to Kindred Rehabilitation Hospital for a bedsore. Moreover, in the process of admitting my best friend I was given admission papers to sign, but now in retrospect suspect there may have been a Mandatory Binding Arbitration Clause. Nevertheless, I was never given a copy of any document I signed. However, in that case, what I do know is that my best friend was un-necessarily medicated to the point of a medically induced coma. As a result, they did not feed him, but without authorization inserted a feeding tube, gave him steroids and two blood thinners; along with, another drug that also causes bleeding.

    In short, on May 16, 2016 at about 10:30am, I walked into my best friend’s room and found him bleeding out severely, and all day long I begged the doctors and medical staff at Kindred Rehabilitation Hospital to transfer him to Arlington Memorial Hospital Emergency Room which is right across the street they refused. Consequently, around 8:30pm, my best friend who was my father was unresponsive, and to my dismay there was no defibrillator available for them to attempt life-saving measures. Hence, my beloved father, a Medicare/Medicaid patient bleed-out and died.

    I would also like to mention that Kloe my service dog was God sent and has done an outstanding job and has been a tremendous help throughout this ordeal she saved me.

    Please note, that if I had not fed my father and inserted a feeding tube, given him steroids, and if I had given two blood thinners; along with, another drug that causes bleeding and allowed him to bleed to death I would be in jail. Needless to say, I am re-traumatized all over again, because (as mentioned) I was my father’s primary caregiver. I witnessed my father’s death and it was nothing I could do to help him. Consequently, it is a sad day in America that I served my country since I was 18 years old, and yet, my father had no medical staff including doctors to care enough to let me save my father’s life by answering my pleas to transfer him to the emergency room across the street. I ask how can they continue to receive federal and state funds? These doctors and medical staff took an oath to save lives so how could they just stand by and let my precious beloved father die for no good reason?

    This is not an attack on all medical professionals or providers, and, it is in my personal opinion that there are excellent hospitals, doctors, nurses and other medical staff who give quality care to all their patients. However, at Kindred Rehabilitation Hospital my father did not receive the quality lifesaving treatment that he deserved.

    Vencor/Kindred’s long history of wrongdoing seems to always survive and thrive due to Medicare fraud which only adds insult to injury with the loss of my father. If these Medicare fraud cases were known to the public then our loved ones would be less likely to be put at risk. Kindred seems to look at ‘profits over patients,’ and our lives are worthless because Kindred medical staff is reckless with our medical care. Additionally, any other business as unethical and abusive would have gone out of business decades ago, yet, Kindred continues to thrive on recklessly committing Medicare fraud.

    Why has the Department of Justice not been more aggressive at informing the public about Kindred’s record of bad behavior? It is the case, that Kindred decayed decades ago from the inside out, and this should send a stench up our noses because the carcasses of our loved ones are not collateral damage and the loss of life should cry out for justice. Nevertheless, we are told ‘If you see something to say something!’ Consequently, I did see something, and I said something, but they did absolutely nothing! It is absolutely appalling! Kindred Rehabilitation Hospital had NO Defibrillator!

    Please spread the word as soon as possible!!!!

    Like

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