Five Texas nursing homes have been cited for inappropriate touching, malnourishment, and negligence following an investigation by CBS19. The investigation began after a series of complaints were filed against nursing homes in Tyler and Longview. Digging deeper into the complaints, CBS19 investigators discovered five nursing homes had countless citations and dangerously low scores from the Department of Aging and Disabilities Services (DADS).
The DADS website indicated that all five nursing homes scored lower than 45 on the 100-point scale used to rate nursing homes. All five are still in operation and reportedly accept patients on Medicaid and Medicare. Three of the most concerning facilities were listed as one-star on a variety of websites, prompting CBS19 to investigate those three facilities further. The list of citations and complaints were startling, including the following:
- Failure of staff to follow doctors orders.
- Staff lacking competency skills needed to care for residents.
- Nurses failing to properly clean residents during catheterization, leaving them at risk for urinary tract infections (UTI).
- Employing staff with a history of negligence and/or abuse.
- Failing to report abuse in an appropriate and timely manner.
- Failing to prevent infectious disease.
- Nurses failing to change gloves between patients, even when cleaning open wounds.
Nursing home negligence is a serious problem. If you have a loved one in a nursing home and are concerned about negligence or abuse, it is important to get help right away.
Please contact us to learn more about how you can protect your loved one and get the justice your family deserves.
Significance of the Problem of Nursing Home Negligence
The significance of nursing home abuse and negligence is tremendous. The population of Americans over 85 is expected to grow to more than 14-million by 2050. That is a tremendous number of Americans needing long-term care, such as that provided by nursing homes.
Unfortunately, the number of Americans suffering abuse or neglect in nursing homes is even more striking. Nursing homes should be places of comfort, care, and rest, but unfortunately, statistics show that across the U.S., there are millions of cases of abuse or neglect every year. Many of the reports of abuse or neglect are very similar in nature to the ones identified in the investigation discussed above.
According to The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center, the most common deficiencies in nursing homes that factor into abuse or neglect include:
- Infection control
- Accident environment
- Food sanitation
- Quality of care
- Unnecessary drugs
- Pharmacy consultation
- Comprehensive care plans
- Clinical records
- Qualified personnel
In addition to these noted deficiencies, it was further noted in 2014 that 20.5 percent, or one in five, facilities had reported deficiencies causing actual harm or jeopardy to residents.
Protecting Your Loved Ones from Abuse and Negligence
In 2014, there were 1.6 million certified beds in nursing homes across the U.S. There are more than 1,200 such facilities in Texas alone. With so many choices, and so many concerns, it can be overwhelming deciding what the best options are for your family. How do you know that you are choosing a stable, safe facility? What about all the ratings and reviews online?
Keeping the most common deficiencies, and your biggest concerns, in mind, here are a few tips that can help you choose a nursing home that will provide your loved one with the quality care that he or she deserves. When visiting prospective nursing homes, consider the following:
- What do you see? Is the facility clean, well maintained, and free from obvious hazards or defects?
- What do you smell? Sometimes there are unavoidable smells in nursing home facilities and an occasional whiff of something unpleasant may not indicate a problem. You should be cautious, however, if there is an overwhelming or persistent smell of urine, feces, or chemicals.
- What do you hear? What sort of interactions do you hear between residents, staff, and nurses? Do you hear yelling, moaning, or other noises that suggest a resident is in pain or not being answered by staff? Are staff members behaving appropriately?
- What are residents doing? Take notice of resident behavior on your visit. It is common to see small groups of residents sitting in public, dining, or activity areas. Are they engaged? Do they seem content? Are staff members keeping an eye on them?
- What is the food like? No one wants to eat food that is tasteless or colorless. Eat a meal while you are there and sample what the facility has to offer. Ask about dietary plans and options for your loved one.
- Are your questions being answered? While touring a prospective nursing home, your questions should be a priority for the staff. Ask questions that are direct and open-ended so you can assess whether the staff is knowledgeable about caring for residents. If your questions are not being answered appropriately, or to your satisfaction, ask to speak to a supervisor or administrator.
Once you have visited prospective nursing homes and narrowed your options down, you may also find it helpful to contact local organizations that support the rights of the elderly, and the care they receive in nursing homes. In Texas, these organizations include:
- Texas Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
- Texas Adult Protective Services (APS)
Each of these organizations can help you determine which facility is best for your family. Through these organizations, you also can find out if prospective facilities have any open complaints of abuse or neglect, or are under investigation for any reason.
Protecting Your Loved One’s Legal Rights
Whether you are looking into nursing home options, or have a loved one in a nursing home already, you need to be able to count on the knowledge and skills of trusted nursing home abuse attorneys. Your loved one has the right to safe, quality care and we can help you be certain that these rights are being defended. To learn more about nursing home abuse or neglect, how to report concerns, or your legal options to pursue justice, fill out our online form to schedule a free case review.