Are Nursing Homes Failing America’s Veterans?

America’s Veterans Battle Another Case of Negligent Nursing Home Care

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers after another report of veterans being
neglected at a one-star rated 112-bed nursing home in Brockton, Massachusetts.
A horrific response highlighted in the report by U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs agents expressed, “We have significant concern about the
blatant disregard for veteran safety by the registered nurses and certified
nurse assistants.” Investigators arrived at the facility after an
employee contacted congress in a letter of concern about how the home
was still failing veterans. When investigators arrived, they found half
a dozen caretakers sleeping rather than caring for residents and supporting
patient rights.

Since the new report was published on November 14, 2018, several lawmakers
have again stepped up and sent a demand letter to the head of the Veterans
Affairs (VA), regarding more information be uncovered as well as a request
for VA officials to provide a full explanation regarding the steps that
will be taken to fix the ongoing issues. Legislators from the nursing
home’s state submitted the letter and included concerns such as,
“The continued care lapses at VA facilities raise questions about
whether concrete, lasting measures are being implemented to prevent misconduct
from occurring again.” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie
is expected to respond.

Indiana VA Nursing Homes Still Being Hit With Allegations of Poor Care

Unfortunately, VA facilities are a common care community found guilty of
lagging behind with low quality ratings even after being called out by
officials. The VA Northern Indiana Healthcare System facility in Marion
was one of the lowest ranking nursing homes in the country featured in
an extensive report lead by USA Today and the Boston Globe during the
summer of 2018. The VA home earned just one out of five stars overall
at the time of review (December 2017) and scored significantly worse than
their private counterparts on nine of 11 key indicators, including:

  • the number of residents in pain is nearly double national averages
  • rates of use of anti-psychotic drug prescriptions are significantly higher
    than other VA centers
  • residents’ general deterioration of physical or mental functions
    from admission to discharge again ranks below quality standard measures

In 2017, the 180-bed Marion facility, which serves an average of 88 veterans
a day, received 2 stars overall, 2 for quality of care, 5 for staffing
and 1 for unannounced on-site surveys. Some improvements have been made
since the summer report but nothing to feel too comfortable about.

In Northwest Indiana sits Merrillville’s Golden Living Center, a
VA-contracted nursing home. A veteran and previous resident of the home
recently told a local
Indiana news outlet that he suffered greatly at the short-staffed facility. One day, the resident
told reporters, he didn’t get his soiled diaper changed until noon
and that a woman with a memory disorder would wander in and out of people’s
rooms, including his, taking stuff.

Our attorneys always suggest family members do a fair amount of research
before picking a facility for their loved one, especially with questions
regarding staff loads, qualifications and training. Wagner Reese has provided
several resources on this topic posted in our weekly blog.

For those of us with elderly loved ones and friends placed in a nursing
home or long-term care residence, be sure to plan several holiday visits
and phone check-ins with them this month. It’s a good time to evaluate
if they are still receiving the best care possible and ensure they are
healthy, safe, and happy.

Veterans Who Reside in Nursing Homes Deserve Better

It may be extremely difficult to think of an American hero, such as a veteran,
being poorly cared for in a nursing home, but as we have displayed here,
the reports continue to erupt. If a loved one is showing signs of neglect,
complains about the care being received in their
nursing home, appears altered in emotional or physical ways, or if you sense they have
been mistreated or abused, call our offices today at (888) 204-8440
to schedule a risk-free consultation. You can also connect with a Wagner
Reese nursing home abuse and neglect attorney by
submitting our online form.