Las Vegas Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Families turn to nursing homes to give the elderly population the care and attention they need and deserve but a congressional report published in 2001 says 1,600 U.S. nursing homes, nearly one third have been cited for abuse, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker.
Some 5,283 nursing homes were reported and cited for abuse violations, according to a review of state inspection records requested by Rep. Henry Waxman, D Calif. These homes were cited for almost 9,000 abuse violations from January 1999 to January 2001.
“We found examples of residents being punched, choked or kicked by staff members or other residents,” Waxman said. It’s a terribly shocking reality for thousands of older Americans, a trend CBS News first reported last year with the story of Helen Love. She was attacked by a certified nurse’s assistant at the Sacramento facility where she lived, who was angered she’d soiled herself.
“He choked me and broke my neck and broke my wrist,” said Love.
Helen Love passed away two days after her interview. Her assailant got a year in county jail and a CBS News investigation found that three other employees at the same Sacramento facility had been convicted for abuse as well, which should have barred them from ever working in a nursing home.
The nursing home industry agrees on the need for tougher background checks, but disagrees abuse is widespread.
“The congressman himself said the great majority of long term care in our nation is excellent. There are people every day that are out there working very hard to give that care,” said Charles H. Roadman II, president of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), a nursing home trade group that represents 12,000 nonprofit and for profit centers and homes for the elderly.
Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees spending and other operations, said Congress should re estalish an abolished federal law that boosts nursing home spending. The Boren amendment would guarantee that the nation’s nearly 17,000 homes to do a better job of screening, training and counseling their staff. Roughly 1.5 million seniors live in nursing homes today.
Waxman is also introducing a plan that would require criminal background checks on all nursing home staff and impose tougher standards on homes who already have violations.
The AHCA supports a federal criminal background check system for potential employees.
“Recruiting, training and keeping frontline nursing staff are among the most important things we can do to ensure our patients will continue to receive quality skilled nursing care,” said Roadman.
But center operators state that abuse is not the norm in nursing homes and many staff members deserve praise.
“Our patients are like family, and incidents like those discusses here today are extremely rare,” said Sharon Sellers, vice president of operations at Washington Home, a nearly 200 bed center in the District of Columbia.
“We strongly believe nursing homes that exhibit consistently poor performance should either clean up their act or be put out of business,” said Rosenthal, whose group represents 5,600 not for profit homes and centers. The reported abuses were physical, sexual and verbal. All abuse is on the rise, the report said. More than twice as many nursing homes were cited for abuse in 2000 than in 1996. In 1996, 5.9 percent of all nursing homes were cited for an abuse violation during their annual inspections; in 2000, 16 percent of nursing homes were cited.
Bruce Rosenthal, spokesman for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, said Congress should focus on the troubled centers, rather than create cumbersome standards for all.
“It would have been intolerable if we had found a hundred cases of abuse; it is unconscionable that we have found thousands upon thousands of cases,” Waxman said.
The report found that in 1,601 nursing homes about 1 in 10 abuse allegations were made in serious incidents that either put residents at great risk of harm, injured them or killed them.
For instance, a resident was killed when another resident with a history of abusive behavior picked her up and slammed her body into a wall. In another case, a resident’s nose was broken by an attendant who hit her. An attendant raped another resident while she was in her room.
It was not clear how many victims were abused. In some cases, the report said, an abuse citation referred to a single victim; in others a single case affected many residents.
Investigators said many violations are neither detected or reported, leading officials to believe the problem is underestimated in size.
The report also found:
more than 40 percent, or 3,800 abuse violations, were only reported after formal complaints from residents, their families or community advocates.
1,327 homes were cited for more than one abuse violation in the two year period; 305 homes were cited for three or more abuse violations, and 192 nursing homes were cited for five or more abuse violations.
At Sam Harding Law Firm we fully investigate cases involving nursing home abuse. We obtain the records from the facility, consult and retain experts where appropriate and pursue full recovery for our clients. Nursing Home Abuse should never be tolerated.
At Sam Harding Law Firm, we understand the problems suffered by people who have sustained injuries from Nursing Home Abuse. We know that insurance companies often try to take advantage of unrepresented clients. We work hard to get our clients the money they deserve without their having to go to court. We work to get medical bills, lost income and money for pain and suffering. However, should your case require us to litigate we are prepared to take your case to court. We are an ABOTA and AV rated Martindale Hubbel law firm.