The scene at HCR ManorCare nursing home when state inspectors visited was one that could sadden even the most reserved administrator. Patients were found unkempt and dirty, claiming they were lucky to receive minimal personal care every once in a blue moon. Patients in the facility often soil themselves while waiting for a response to their call buttons, while others were left on bedpans so long that bruises began to form.
Unfortunately, this scene was not the only problem occurring at the nursing home. Due to lack of staffing and lack of care, there were multiple incidents where residents suffered devastating injuries. One resident had suffered an opioid overdose, another resident had flipped over his wheelchair, resulting in a brain hemorrhage, and an employee helping a paraplegic woman without the assistance of a helper resulted in a fractured hip.
Who was responsible for the subpar living conditions of these vulnerable residents?
One of the richest private-equity firms in the world, the Carlyle Group, was the owner of this chain of nursing homes until they filed for bankruptcy. During the five years leading up to the bankruptcy, residents were subjected to an increase in health risks and poor care, an inspection report showed. Health code violations rose 26 percent during this time with some of the top reported problems being:
- Untreated bedsores
- Errors in administering medication
- Failing to provide proper care for those who require special services
- Not assisting patients with eating and personal hygiene concerns
The rise in these violations occurred after the Carlyle completed a new financial deal that removed $1.3 billion from the company, making it virtually impossible for the chain to meet its financial burdens. The result was hundreds of layoffs in just over a year. As the home tried to make rent payments, they also embarked on serious cost-cutting measures. In response to the investigation the company stated that they did not make cuts to nursing staff, but only administrative needs. The spokesperson also went onto state that they felt the homes were not suffering from poor conditions, and they were well-rated by many companies. When asked by a reporter if he would treat his mother in the same way, he gave pause but did not answer.
Unfortunately what this type of situations tell us is that perhaps these facilities and the care of the patients should be left in the hands of those who know the ins and outs of the business and can provide the quality care that the aging population needs, instead of firms looking for a return on investment. Many of these investment firms are looking to generate investor returns quickly, often leading to the plundering of company assets to meet these needs.
Signs of nursing home neglect
Nursing care neglect is a growing problem, and as the population continues to age, it is likely to only get worse. To make sure your loved is not falling victim to neglect, be mindful of the signs of neglect listed below.
- They may seem confused, dizzy, or drowsy, often with no immediate medical cause. This can often be a sign of overmedication.
- Their mobility has lessened due to a lack of physical exercise during the day.
- They often have bedsores, bruises, or rashes.
- They have poor personal hygiene, such as dirty or untrimmed fingernails, or matted hair.
- They suffer frequently from falls.
- They exhibit anxiety around the care staff.
- They seem withdrawn, sullen, or depressed.
While these are not the only signs that neglect of your loved one is occurring, they can be key indicators. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse at their care facility, don’t wait for the conditions to get worse. Contact legal counsel to help you determine the best course of action to ensure that your loved one is protected and treated as they deserve.