A new federal report released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services states that California’s nursing home inspectors fall short when it comes to following up on their own investigative findings. According to an article by California Watch, the federal department, which oversees Medicare and Medicaid, identified shortcomings by the California Department of Public Health, which inspects the state’s 1,150 nursing homes.
The report talks about serious cases of nursing home neglect, on which state officials failed to follow up. One example was a case where inspectors discovered that maggots were coming out of a resident’s ear. Federal officials say that in such cases, federal overseers are limited in their ability to take action. The power to do that rests in the hands of the state department, which federal officials say, does a poor job with enforcement.
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Downey Care Center, Fountain View Subacute and Nursing Center, and Motion Picture & Television Hospital have all been fined for fatal incidents that resulted from nursing home neglect. According to an Associated Press news report, the nursing home fines total $235,000 and the facilities have 10 days to contest their fines. Officials say all three facilities were directly responsible for incidents that occurred on their premises.
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Inadequate care and nursing home neglect led to the death of an elderly patient at a care facility operated by the Community Hospital of San Bernardino in 2008, state investigators have determined. According to a news report in The San Bernardino County Sun, the nursing home faces an $80,000 fine in connection with the patient’s death. California Department of Public Health investigators found that the patient died on February 2, 2008 after the tubes that connected him to a ventilator had been disconnected.
The report states that a ventilator alarm that should have alerted staff about the disconnection was not heard. The report also states that the hospital, after this tragic incident, took corrective steps by training its staff about caring for patients who rely on ventilators. The fine was issued last month and the hospital did not appeal it.
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With more and more seniors going into nursing homes, there is not only an increased demand for nursing homes, but an increased attention on nursing home neglect and abuse issues. There is a bigger spotlight being cast on the way nursing home residents are being cared for and treated in these facilities.
A new study on nursing home care released this week ranks California the lowest of all states. According to data released by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, more than 8 percent of California long-term nursing home residents were physically restrained in 2008. More than 25 percent of short-stay nursing home patients in California had pressure sores. Read the rest »
Martha Young, 62, who family members say was lapsed into a diabetic come due to nursing home neglect, received a $2 million settlement from the Vallejo care facility where she was a resident. According to a news report in the Times-Herald, Young has been in a permanent vegetative state since the fall of 2008 when she suffered a second diabetic coma in less than two months. Both her diabetic comas were suffered when she was in the care of Crestwood Recovery and Rehabilitation Center. The settlement was reached even as a jury pool was being prepared for the trial.
Young’s attorneys say she was in “decent shape” when she became a resident at the nursing home. She did have mental health issues and was a diabetic. But within 50 days of getting to Crestwood she was not eating, drinking or taking her medication. Family members said in the lawsuit that the facility had a responsibility to care for Young and make sure she ate, drank and took her medication. Read the rest »
Trying to determine the number of instances of elder abuse amongst nursing homes is like trying to count the number of times Charlie Sheen has disgraced himself in the last week; there are too many instances in public, and too many that are not reported. California in particular has always had a shockingly high amount of disgraceful nursing homes, but with the inclusion of the new star rating system, and the public spotlight illuminating the problem, many felt that we were heading in a new and positive direction. A recent report begs to differ.
Percent of Criminals Employed is Frighteningly High
According to a new government report obtained by CBS News, more than 90 percent of nursing homes hired employees with criminal convictions, leading to theories regarding the increased instances of nursing home abuse. Government investigators ran background checks on all workers who were employed on June 1, 2009 at 260 nursing homes across the country. The results showed 92 percent of the facilities hired at least one employee with a criminal conviction, according to CBS News. Read the rest »