VA Finally Publishes Nursing Home Care Reports with Foul Neglect Findings
In June of 2018, USA TODAY and The Boston Globe led with horrific reports that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had been dishonest in reporting the quality of care served to 46,000 veterans for years, leaving residents and their families to suffer and without the vital health care information to support a dignified, pain and injury free life for a generation fueled by American heroes. The investigative reporting used information from 133 VA nursing homes and concluded more than two-thirds were “more likely to have issues related to serious bedsores and residents who will suffer serious pain, than their counterparts in private nursing homes across the country.” Since, many of the official reports have been released to the public and reveal additional deficiencies and an absolute tragic view of the reality of care these veterans will likely continue to receive.
According to the first round of reports made public in March of 2019, these are only a few examples of how inspectors observed veterans treated while receiving care in a VA nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Infectious Disease Control Protocols:
Inspectors often found care staff in two-out-of-three VA nursing homes who didn’t follow simple protocols, such as wearing gloves when treating residents. For example, in Iowa, facility leadership failed to ensure staff were appropriately cleaning veterans, one specifically who had contracted six urinary tract infections in just seven months, several from potentially deadly E. coli bacteria and could have been prevented.
Inspectors concluded residents weren’t properly monitored or were exposed to hazardous conditions at more than 50 U.S. VA nursing homes. Several noted for having residents using dangerously hot water for everyday washing and bathing, two at scalding temperatures of 128 degrees, which impacted the most sensitive residents who were battling dementia or other communication hindering diseases.
Veterans Found in “Immediate Jeopardy”:
11 of the 99 VA home reports released so far were flagged for putting veterans in immediate danger. In Massachusetts, a resident with dementia who was physically unable to hold, light or extinguish a cigarette was repeatedly allowed to go outside to smoke by himself although he previously had returned with burn holes in his clothing and on the seat cushion of his wheelchair.
If you respect a veteran, you should be angered by these stories but unfortunately not surprised. Care issues related to pain management and also the prevention and treatment of bed sores, and daily battles for dignified living in VA homes are almost too common to mention but should be noted just as serious as the issues listed above.
To view the VA report in relation to these findings in Chicago, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Legal Help for Neglected and Abused Veterans
Four nursing homes for veterans are licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health and certified in the state of Illinois. The Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti can help if a veteran has suffered as a result of a poorly performing VA nursing home or like facility.
Our consultations are always free, confidential, and handled by one of our skilled attorneys. Click here to fill out an online request form or call us toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872.