If your loved one is living in a nursing home and you notice bedsores, broken bones or other forms of abuse, you wonder how it happened. You did your research, regularly check in with staff and make frequent visits – how did your loved one end up injured? Although one or more employees may be involved, understaffing may be at the root of nursing home neglect or abuse.
When researching nursing homes for a loved one, you look for a place where he or she will be in good hands. A responsive staff, clean facilities and no reports of negligence or abuse are often at the top of the list. Yet, a recent report from WFAA in Dallas, Texas found that criminals are being hired to provide care at a significant percentage of state nursing facilities.
On October 31, 2017, the Hartford Courant reported that six nursing homes have been fined by the state of Connecticut for sexual abuse and lapses in care that resulted in serious injury. Nursing homes in Greenwich, Hartford, Old Saybrook, Manchester, Meriden and Naugatuck face fines between $1,530 and $1,940.
Recently, the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services issued a release about how nursing homes report cases of serious abuse. In its statements, the Inspector General found that 25 percent of these incidents aren’t reported to the police. In spite of state and federal laws requiring homes to do so, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not been monitoring facilities to see if they take the proper action.
For years, patients neglected, injured or abused at a nursing home would attempt to pursue a legal claim against the facility, only to find that an arbitration agreement – signed during the intake process – prevented them from taking this direction. Rather, the home required the patient to dispute the issue in arbitration, a process often in the facility’s favor and one that prevents the incident from being recorded.