Nursing Homes Acting on Abuse Claims
Written by Jeff Meyer on August 11, 2015
Nursing Homes Acting on Abuse Claims
The statistics are frustrating and disheartening. From the claims of the Centers for Disease Control to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the cold hard fact is that elder abuse in nursing homes happens. And whether it is one in three patients or less, it is a sizeable problem.
Fortunately, the federal and state governments in charge of overseeing such issues are taking action. From mandated changes to the star-rating methods in the Medicare system, to the Affordable Care Act’s demands for better staffing measures and infection management, the overall quality of care should be increasing. Still, there will be problems that slip through the proverbial net.
Take a recent case in Minneapolis as an example. The family of a patient was concerned about an increased amount of bruising and lacerations on their loved one’s body. They decided to install hidden cameras in the room, and what they captured was horrifying. The family was able to tape two of the facility’s nursing assistants abusing not only their loved one but at least one other resident.
The police were immediately contacted by the administration, and arrests were made. The outcome of this story is a bit unique from many others since the family of the person abused in the video has come out in favor of the nursing home. Expressing faith in the leadership, and indicating positive experiences in the past, the family says that they feel it was an “isolated incident” and that the response by the facility allows them to feel confident enough to leave their loved one in residence.
The Right Response
In fact, this facility’s professionalism is of such significance that it should be emphasized. Their administrator issued a public statement explaining that they were cooperating with the authorities and had implemented a plan of correction. The site also “fired eight additional employees for either not reporting the alleged abuse or using their cell phone in a patient’s room, which is against policy at the facility.” (CBSLocal.com)
This proves that the facility does not hesitate to make corrective actions, implement new policies or procedures, and openly address issues relating to the health and wellbeing of patients. This is part of the reason that the “overall rating” that the organization has with the Medicare.gov site is at five stars (the highest possible).
It proves the benefit of using such a resource when you are in search of a facility for yourself or a loved one. It is possible to use the Internet to determine if a site has any sort of newsworthy stories available – such as the disturbing case we discussed above – but that is not the only valuable research.
After all, if you based your choice strictly on such stories you might fail to see that the facility in question has held a high rating because of its responsiveness. The federal Nursing Home Compare tool also allows some state information to be included. State Department of Health websites will also yield good information when looking for the overall quality of a specific facility.
You can find any patterns of hiring inadequate or inappropriate staff, of failure to correct problems, and of placing residents in harm’s way. It would be impossible for any facility to get perfect ratings at all times, but you can find those with the most obvious concerns by using the Internet. Don’t overlook the value of “word of mouth,” and ask friends and colleagues for suggestions. Speak to your trusted physician for referrals, and pay visits to any sites you are considering.
Though the best facilities take action as soon as they know there are problems, you too can act ahead of time and choose the best nursing home available. If there are problems, do as the family in the news story did – contact authorities and take action. An attorney is also a good “first step” too.
CBSLocal.com. New Hope Nursing Home…http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/07/15/10-fired-after-hidden-camera-catches-abuse-at-new-hope-home/