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Boston Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

In Boston, Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs oversees one of the the 22 State Protective Services Program that governs the care of elderly Massachusetts citizens. These services are in place to protect senior citizens from elder abuse, especially at the hands of staff at Boston nursing homes. In recent years, nursing homes in and around Boston have come under intense scrutiny after cases of elder abuse were brought before the courts.

Personal Healthcare Facilities

Personal Healthcare is a New York-based company that owns and operates nursing homes in the Boston area, and in other areas of Massachusetts. In 2016, reports were released from investigations that had taken place as far back as 2014 revealing conditions that defied safety and health regulations.

In some cases, windows in nursing homes in the Boston area were covered with mold. In others, patients who suffered from dementia were neglected and allowed to put themselves in harm’s way, resulting in broken bones and other injuries. One of these Massachusetts nursing homes was placed on a watch list as one of the most problem-filled nursing homes in the nation.

These cases of elder abuse in Boston nursing homes run by Personal Healthcare are not limited to only these facilities. More studies into the many nursing care facilities around Massachusetts showed that privately owned nursing care facilities spend less money on healthcare for patients than the frequently underfunded state-run facilities, and have higher instances of abuse claims overall.

Arbitration Clauses Lawsuit

In 2009, an elderly resident in a Massachusetts nursing home was killed by her roommate, another senior citizen who suffered from dementia and depression. The attacker was known for having aggression issues, but the nursing facility stated that the victim felt safe living with the other resident.

The victim’s son sued the facility, stating that their negligence led to the wrongful death of his 100-year-old mother. In 2010, a Boston court ruled that the man could not take the facility to court because of an arbitration clause in the contract that was signed for his mother’s care when she was admitted.

Lawyers in Boston took the case, fighting not only for the rights of the son to receive retribution for his mother’s death, but also to make a greater point about arbitration clauses, which some claim are used to cheat elders and their family members out of their rights. In other historical cases, Boston courts have upheld the arbitration clauses, even in the cases of elderly signees who were illiterate or suffering from dementia.

In 2014, a judge ruled that the man did not have the right to bind his mother to arbitration, winning his case against the facility for wrongful death. Lawyers claim that this could open up a new avenue of investigation for elderly patients who have been victims of abuse, and their families.

Reporting Elder Abuse in Boston

Anyone who works in a healthcare role, or another profession that requires mandatory reporting according to the ethical code of the profession, must report suspicions of elder abuse in Boston nursing facilities. These individuals can be fined up to 1,000 dollars, and face charges of criminal neglect, if they do not report suspected cases of elder abuse. However, even if you are not a mandatory reporter, you can still speak up if you see signs of elder abuse.

The Protective Service Program can be reached during working hours, and you can also reach the statewide Elder Abuse Hotline 24-7, including on holidays, at 1-800-922-2275. If you report a suspected case of abuse, you are automatically granted immunity from criminal liability, and you can choose to remain anonymous.

Sources:

http://www.mass.gov/elders/service-orgs-advocates/protective-services-program.html

 

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/02/21/mass-nursing-home-lawsuit-could-prove-pivotal-contract-issues/xFJVE5RuXW46MZVY4LcwtI/story.html

 

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/03/26/profit-and-care-massachusetts-nursing-homes/JfpOM6rwcFAObDi2JLcAnN/story.html

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