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Buffalo Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

When placing family members in a nursing home to be cared for once they’ve reached their senior years, many people are concerned about the level of treatment that will be given in these facilities. One way to compare facilities is to consider the star rating or letter grade they are given by state and federal inspectors. An A grade, or a higher star rating on a scale of 5, are signs that a facility provides top quality care to all their patients.

For residents of Buffalo, many of the nursing home facilities have been investigated for elder abuse over the years, meaning that their letter grade or star rating will be lower. In these facilities, certain types of abuse or neglect may be common.

Kaleida Health Lawsuit

In 2014, a total of 17 nursing facility staff members at a Buffalo nursing home owned by Kaleida Health were accused of elder abuse by the State’s Attorney General. This healthcare facility operates at over 97% capacity, meaning that nearly 300 of Buffalo’s elderly citizens are cared for within its walls.

Throughout a single month in 2014, the sate department received more than 100 complaints about the levels of abuse and neglect that were being experienced at the hands of staff. Nearly 45% of the entire population of the nursing home reported being abused or neglected.

After 59 inspections performed by the Health Department, there were multiple citations filed that dealt with the low quality of the care received by patients in this facility.

Health and Fire Violations in Western New York

In 2015, a private nursing home advocacy group analyzed two dozen nursing homes in the Buffalo and surrounding areas, and noted that the quality of care over the last three years has been lower than the national average.

These nursing homes were both public and privately owned homes, and included facilities with repeat health violations and repeat fire code violations. The citations that were analyzed included reports of neglected bed sores, questionable food storage practices, and serious record-keeping inconsistencies.

The report was released to the public to show how Buffalo nursing homes compare to other nursing care facilities around the country in cases of elder neglect and abuse.

Abusive Residents

One problem that faces many nursing homes in the Buffalo area is abusive residents who, when left unsupervised, have caused the injury or death of other residents. This often happens with patients suffering from dementia or other mental illnesses, when they become confused or frightened by surroundings they do not recognize.

This type of abuse is not limited to physical abuse. Financial exploitation occurs between residents, as well as verbal and emotional abuse. A study reported in 2015 showed that one in every five residents of Buffalo nursing homes experience abuse from another resident every month.

Out of a sample of 2,000 patients living in various New York nursing homes, nearly 34% of people reported some form of abuse at the hands of another resident, including physical altercations, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and room and personal property invasions.

The New York City Elder Abuse Center reported similar findings, and defined the risk factors that can lead to this type of abuse, so that nursing home staff can better guard against it. Because the abuse often occurs without the understanding of the aggressor, these cases cannot be treated the same as other cases of elder abuse. Criminal charges are often not an option, unless the nursing home staff’s negligence led to the aggression. Policy changes are being considered to help reduce the number of patient-on-patient abuse cases.

Sources:

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2015/09/21/two-dozen-wny-nursing-homes-highlighted-for.html

 

http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/east-side/17-workers-at-highpointe-nursing-home-accused-of-felony-patient-abuse-20140424

 

http://newamericamedia.org/2015/10/resident-on-resident-abuse-a-common-problem-at-nursing-homes.php

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