There are some California nursing homes that fail to provide adequate care to their residents. It is common in these types of nursing homes for patients to suffer serious harm and injury. There is no question that these negligent facilities, which are entrusted with the care of the frail and elderly, breach the trust of those whom they are supposed to serve. To uncover elderly abuse and neglect, Operation Guardians, a multi-agency task force set up by the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse conducted several surprise inspections at nursing homes through California. On November 29, 2011, they visited the Florin Healthcare Center in Sacramento. Many of their findings were deeply disturbing.
Signs of Deficient Care
The team of inspectors from Operation Guardians found many signs of deficient care. The following observations were listed in the reports made by inspectors:
- Inspectors reviewed the care that was given to 13 current or former residents of the facility. They found examples of deficient care in almost every case.
- Pressure sores were a common issue for many of the patients. Pressure sores are often the direct result of a failure by workers to properly move bedridden patients. In one case, a patient had six pressure sores over a three-month period. The pressure sores were "infected, and cellulitis surrounded the surface areas of the sores." This is a sign that the sore were not properly treated. Sadly, this patient died the day after inspectors requested that she receive treatment at an acute care facility.
- The facility failed to receive consent from the proper individuals. One patient was receiving treatment as requested by a boyfriend who did not have the legal authority to provide such consent.
- Sexual assault was also reported at the facility. One of the residents was assaulted by another resident. The victim suffered a stroke recently and was unable to communicate with the staff. The victim was not given a physical examination and did not receive treatment for the assault.
- One patient regularly left the facility without consent or supervision. An inspector actually observed the patient leaving while the staff remained unaware of the potentially dangerous situation. Additionally, her Wanderguard alert system did not activate when she left. She has a conservator, which means that she lacks the capacity for self-preservation and is at a high risk for injury or death while outside the facility.
- The physical therapy staff was also not providing adequate care during the inspection. Officials observed the physical therapists sitting at a table and talking "while billing for their services."
- Many of the patients were younger individuals. In many cases, there was a failure to properly plan their discharge.
- Some of the elderly patients were not receiving adequate end-of-life care either. Four of the patients' records lacked evidence that hospice care was considered or even offered. In some cases, the residents were specifically admitted for terminal care and were still not offered hospice care.
- There was a serious risk of falling injuries at the facility. Two of the residents had already suffered numerous falls because of deficient care. It was common for their falls to occur while they were unsupervised resulting in a prolonged period of suffering before being discovered. Inspectors found "gross failures" to prevent falling incidents at their facility.
- The facility failed to properly update their infection control report binder for two months.
- Several rooms did not have the names of the residents on the doors. This is a potential safety issue.
- The number of staff members at the facility failed to meet the minimum state requirements on three of the six days reviewed. All care facilities in California must have at least 3.2 nursing hours per resident per day.
Rights of Victims
Victims of nursing home negligence and abuse may pursue financial compensation for their losses and at the same time hold the at-fault party accountable. If you suspect that your loved one has received inadequate care or is being abused or neglected at a nursing facility, please do not hesitate to notify the authorities and to contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. An experienced Sacramento nursing home abuse attorneys at our law firm can help the family protect the injured victim while holding the facility accountable for its wrongdoing. Please contact us for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.