Officials Fail to Protect Nursing Home Residents from Poor Care
The law requires that nursing homes “promote and protect the rights of each resident”. State regulators are supposed to inspect nursing homes to make sure the facilities abide by the law. However, a recent California report showed that the state’s regulators did not provide enough oversight, resulting in a decrease of quality care. Patients were at higher risk of being seriously harmed and even dying because of poor care at nursing homes.
Nursing Home Residents at Risk Because of Poor Care
The report was produced by California state auditors who found a shocking pattern of substandard care. They looked at nursing home data from 2006 to 2015 and found that:
- Cases of substandard care increased by 31 percent.
- Incidences of poor care that caused, or were likely to cause, serious harm, injury or death increased by 35 percent.
Public Health Department Fails to Provide Proper Oversight
California’s public health department is responsible for ensuring that nursing homes provide quality care by inspecting nursing homes and approving license applications. The auditors found the department failed to meet its responsibilities. Specifically, the public health department:
- Did not perform all the nursing home inspections that it is required to perform.
- Did not issue citations when it found violations, or issued them late.
- Made inconsistent decisions on licensing.
The problems with nursing home oversight go beyond California. Studies show that this is a recurring problem throughout the United States. A recent reduction in the penalties nursing homes must pay when residents are harmed will likely make the problem even worse.
Income for Big Nursing Home Companies Is Going Up
While the quality of care given to residents decreased, big nursing home companies in the state grew richer. The auditors looked at three large private nursing home companies and found that their combined income grew from $10 million in 2006 to somewhere between $35 and $54 million in 2015.
What You Can Do
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, be alert for any signs that they might be neglected. Look out for changes in your loved one’s behavior, changes in their grooming or cleanliness of clothes, inadequate housekeeping in their rooms or common areas, inadequate staffing or any other unexplained changes.
If you have any concerns, speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer at Garcia & Artigliere. Call us at (800) 281-8515 to find out more.