Nursing home neglect is usually rooted in money shortages. Caregivers at most institutions are compassionate, hardworking individuals. However, no matter what their intentions, if there are not enough workers for the amount of residents and if their is a lack of proper equipment, training, or resources, then serious problems might develop. Nursing home pressure sores, falls, wandering, elopement, and residents-on-resident violence often results from these lapses.
A fuller commitment of resources from nursing home owners and operators often can relieve these pressures. Yet, in many cases those funds are never shifted to quality of care issues, meaning that seniors are forced to languish in poor conditions. This is never acceptable, and when residents are hurt by this conduct, the civil justice system allows the resident and their family members to file suit to demand redress.
In addition, there are times when a nursing home lawsuit might be filed for the overall poor practices of a facility without a connection to a specific act of negligence.
For example, as reported by SF Gate, federal officials recently joined a lawsuit against a nursing home alleging that the facility padded its own bottom line at the expense of reasonable care for residents. In particular, the lawsuit claims that the facility collected money from federal coffers–Medicare and Medicaid–for incredibly low quality services. The suit claims that the services for which the facility was paid were “effectively worthless.”
According to the claims made in the lawsuit, the owner of the facility engaged in calculated practices to provide only the bare minimum to the residents. There were insufficient employees and resources such that the residents suffered tremendously. The reason for the deterioration of the home was simple: filter as much money as possible into the pockets of the nursing home owner.
The suit claims that things like ” towels, garbage bags, laundry bags, medical tubing and oxygen bottles” were rationed, so that not all residents received the items they needed. Employees were even asked to delay cashing checks for their wages on some occasions, claim the suit. These dire conditions were all a product of ownership practices which focused on profits over reasonable patient safety.
The lawsuit goes on to argue that, predictably, these terrible practices had very real consequences on the lives of the residents in the home. Falls, bed sores, and dehydration occurred repeatedly. According to the story, the situation was so bad that some employees decided to use their own money to buy food and snacks for residents who were hungry.
One attorney for the government who is working on the matter explained how “it is critically important that we confront nursing home operators who put their own economic gain over the needs of their residents.” The lawyers at our firm appreciate the critical role that tough enforcement of Medicare and Medicaid rules has on improving care for all residents.
However, the sad reality is that there is far more misconduct on that front than there is accountability. There are only so many public employees working on these matters. Instead, enforcement of proper care often falls to the residents and their families. If you suspect mistreatment of a loved one, be sure to reach out to legal professionals in the to explain your story and receive tailored advice on how to proceed in each case.
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