Nursing Home Abuse Reports Should Be Public
Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) September 18, 2012 - The more people know about nursing home abuse, the more that can be done to eliminate it.
“I’ve seen a number of nursing home abuse cases during my years of practicing personal injury law, and I can tell you that it is far more prevalent than you might think,” indicated Mike Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas. “Speaking up and out about it helps others. Nursing home abuse should not be kept hidden, like a dirty secret.”
One case that serves as a warning to the public is the result of a report done on an elder care facility in California. The state has a program called Operation Guardians that pulls surprise inspections at various facilities across the state. Recently, they evaluated a home where several issues were found, including substandard care by doctors, over prescribing drugs to residents and concerns about palliative care.
The team of inspectors does not just look at the services provided in nursing homes. They also look into quality of care and sanitation in the facility. In other words, there are two reports: a medical report written by a doctor specializing in geriatrics and a general sanitation report authored by the inspection team.
“In this most recent round of inspections, the California Advocates for Nursing Home Residents decided to make this nursing facility report public. And what a revelation that turned out to be,” added Smith. “The doctor found substandard medical care in the form of prescribing too many medications, utilizing invasive therapies for no clear reason and performing these therapies without proper monitoring by anyone.”
One 90-year-old diabetic patient was being given two injections a day of long-acting insulin, despite the fact that the patient had a life-threatening low blood sugar level within a few days prior to the sudden inspection. For some unexplained reason, the attending doctor had even increased the dose. “Further, the care home was not offering palliative care as specified and directed by the patients, nor was the care they were offering up to current acceptable standards,” Smith pointed out.
Overall, the report on the facility was not a ringing endorsement of their level of care, nor of their use and evident abuse of prescription drugs. Many of the patients in the facility were on multiple drugs and subjected to excessive lab tests and IV therapy in the absence of defined care goals. In short, there were far more risks to the patients in care than there were benefits.
“The icing on the cake was the discovery of patients’ missing equipment, incomplete patient records and even an elderly resident who had refused physical therapy treatment being charged for the service. This kind of thing goes on in many care homes, and those with loved ones in residence need to be alert and aware to what is going on when they visit. Speak up if you see or hear something that does not seem right. Someone’s life, including your relative’s, may depend on it,” advised Smith.
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