As of November 2015, Families for Better Care, a watchdog advocate group that protects the elderly, began ranking Missouri fourth on a list of the nation’s worst states concerning nursing homes. This is in response to Missouri inspection reports showing how many statewide nursing facilities have either caused or contributed to dozens of deaths involving the elderly in the last three years.
Additionally, ProPublica, a nonprofit journalist investigative group released a troubling report outlining allegations of verbal and physical abuse, rape and neglect that were uncovered through nursing home inspections in recent years. These disturbing inspections were performed by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The massive database details deficiencies uncovered at nursing facilities all throughout the state. The report details deficiencies by their severity that shows harmful incidences or deficiencies that tend to occur as a pattern at the facility.
Many of the lives taken at the hands of caregivers acting negligently or abusively were frail victims who tragically died prematurely. This unseen pandemic commonly goes unnoticed even by state inspectors who perform routine certification and licensure surveys, and are required to investigate incidences of neglect, mistreatment and abuse. Many of the deaths are the result of life-threatening neglect that can be directly traced back to the nursing staff whom residents rely on to receive health and hygiene care along with assistance with exercise, nutrition and hydration. Many cases of unlawful neglect and abuse go unreported or are never prosecuted.