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The Battle Against Nursing Home Abuse

Written by NHAbuseGuide on August 3, 2015

The Battle Against Nursing Home Abuse

There are many moments when people seem to be arguing about something, and yet also missing the point. This is what seems to be going on right now in a Pennsylvania court case. In it, the state’s attorney general filed suit against a chain of nursing homes claiming that they have failed to provide patients with “their most basic needs.”

According to one news outlet, the prosecution is claiming that patients in the Golden Living Centers (of which there are 14 scattered throughout Pennsylvania) were kept in unhygienic conditions, did not receive meals, and were left unattended for long stretches of time.

On the other side of the story, the company that has drawn such criticism and legal action is claiming that the case is being made against them without any merit or legal foundation. Instead, the Golden Living Centers’ leadership is arguing that the case has come due to a questionable relationship between the attorney general’s office and the legal firm hired to handle the investigation (which will receive a portion of the fines paid in return for their work).

However, in the midst of all of this arguing and “back and forth”, the reality is that at least some of the 30k patients in these 14 nursing home facilities endured some sort of neglect or abuse. Legal action could not have been taken by the state had there been no documentable evidence of the conditions or problems.

The Real Issue

The state is arguing that the facilities failed to live up to their promises to provide basic care, and the facilities argue that such claims are baseless. In the middle of it all, just what is being done to ensure that the patients are, indeed, getting basic care? There are fundamental standards that all nursing homes and long-term care facilities must meet if they are to remain on the Medicare.gov list of nursing homes. Their “comparison tool” is something that lists only those with at least one out of five possible stars.

It is highly advisable that anyone seeking a nursing home for themselves or a family member put this basic tool to work before making a decision. Of course, using only online information is not a good idea.

While you might uncover news stories, such as the item we’ve discussed above, and that can alert you to some potential problems with a specific site, you also want to pay at least one visit before making a decision. No one can tell if the quality of care is exactly as it should be from a few website visits. Instead, you need to tour the hallways, pay attention to cleanliness and any odors, see the food being served, and most importantly, look at some of the patients.

Do they seem clean and tidy? Are they happy and as healthy as possible? Do there seem to be too many people in their beds or rooms instead of in the shared spaces? And how many staff members are available to support the residents?

It is not known just why the quality of care in certain nursing homes declines, and it may be due to poorly trained staff, not enough staff, inadequate financial resources, out of date facilities, and more. The only way to avoid finding yourself or a loved one in a place where the quality of care is low is to do the research and look for any complaints or negative reports. Pay a visit and get a good feel of it for yourself, and then you can feel confident that you’re making a good choice.

If you do experience or suspect neglect, do not hesitate to approach the facility management, the authorities, or an attorney for help.


UPI.com. Pennsylvania attorney general alleges… https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html

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