It is unknown how many of our vulnerable elderly fall victim to neglect or abuse each year since such actions are easily hidden from view and underreported. In fact, according to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), 84 percent of abusive situations involving older adults go unreported or unrecognized.
We all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the people who served our country as members of the United States armed forces. Unfortunately, when it comes to actually repaying that debt, many of our elderly and infirm veterans are subject to nursing home abuse and neglect at the hands of poorly staffed and poorly maintained facilities.
A recent column in the New York-based Messenger Post noted that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was “failing” in its duty to provide proper nursing home care to our veterans. The column cited the results of a 2018 survey conducted by USA Today and the Boston Globe, which found that 60 VA-run nursing homes “rated only one out of five stars for quality of care in the VA’s own ranking system.”
Outside Inspectors Identify Multiple Problems with Ohio VA Nursing Facilities
In March of this year, the VA released “inspection reports” for its nursing homes–called “community living centers” (CLCs)– throughout the country. These reports were prepared by an independent contractor retained by the VA to review conditions at the CLCs. And while the VA seemed to think the inspection reports painted a positive picture of its nursing home management, the details of the inspection reports told a different story.
As reported by USA Today, the outside inspectors “cited 52 out of 99 VA nursing homes for deficiencies that caused ‘actual harm’ to veterans.” For example, at “more than two dozen VA nursing homes,” the staff “failed to take steps to ensure bedsores healed or new ones didn’t develop.” The inspectors specifically cited a case at a VA home in Cincinnati, where “one resident had five bedsores in six months, yet when inspectors visited, they found no one moved the man or put cushions under him for hours.”
At another Ohio-based VA nursing home in Dayton, the inspectors found:
- The staff “did not ensure all alleged violations including injuries of unknown source were thoroughly investigated.”
- The facility “did not promote care for residents in a manner and in an environment that maintained or enhanced each resident’s dignity.”
- Residents did not receive an “ongoing program of activities” designed to promote their “physical, mental, and psychosocial wellbeing,” as required by federal regulations.
- Overall, the CLC “did not ensure service provided met professional standards of quality.”
In response to the inspectors’ findings, the VA said in a statement that it had a “lower number of low-performing facilities” relative to private, non-VA nursing homes. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie further noted that VA nursing homes “on average cares for sicker and more complex patients in its nursing homes than do private facilities.”
Contact the Cleveland Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers at Tittle & Perlmutter Today
Regardless of whether a nursing home is publicly or privately owned, all residents deserve a high degree of professional care and attention. There is never an excuse for allowing conditions to deteriorate to the point where residents are at risk of “actual harm,” as the VA inspectors found.
If someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, and you need legal advice on what steps to take next, contact Tittle & Perlmutter today at (216) 308-1522.