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Veterans Administration Nursing Home Fails To Protect War Heros

Picture-1141If our government can’t provide a proper environment for members of our armed forces to receive skilled nursing care– changes must be made…immediately.

Today, many veterans who bravely fought in battles to defend our country are reliant on the Veterans Administration for care necessitated by injury, disability and old age. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect still occurs in these VA operated facilities– just as is does in privately controlled counterparts.

I was disturbed to read a recent article describing the horrific living conditions of vets living in a Veterans Affairs Nursing Home in Philadelphia.  The pattern of poor care was so prominent, a private company, the Long Term Care Institute, was hired to investigate the living conditions and medical treatment rendered at the facility.

Although the facility only cared for 120 Veterans– half of its rated capacity of 240, the Long Term Care Institute concluded the facility, “failed to provide sanitary and safe environment for their residents.” The report went on to say that, “[t]here was a significant failure to protect their residents’ rights to autonomy and to be treated with respect and dignity.”

If the conditions described in the report are accurate, I think we all should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing our most courageous citizens to live in such conditions.  Among the disgusting conditions documented by investigators include:

  • A Veteran’s foot had become so infected with maggots, it required amputation
  • Veteran who suffered from extreme weight loss for no reason
  • Unsanitary conditions- dried blood on feeding tuns that were left on the floor

Three months before this external investigation was initiated, the Veterans Affair Nursing Home set upon its own internal investigation after a mute and disabled Vietnam Veteran choked to death on solid food— despite the fact that he was on a ‘soft food’ diet.  Consequently, two agency nurses were terminated and other staff members were given additional training on patients with swallowing difficulties.

As a nursing home lawyer who has seen some of the worst of the worst, I believe the more attention these dangerous facilities receive– the faster change will come about.  I will be contacting my legislators to make them aware of problems in VA facilities.  Don’t our Veterans deserve better?

 

Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog Entries

Feds Investigate VA Nursing Home For Dangerous Care

Nursing Home For Veterans To Shut Down

Feds Allege Veterans Nursing Home Provides Inadequate Medical & Nursing Services

Fall Leaves Veteran With Broken Neck In Illinois Nursing Home

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  • Jonathan Rosenfeld’s Nursing Homes Abuse Blog

    Nursing Homes Can Improve Patient Care. How A Veterans Facility Turned Itself Around.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see a follow-up article in the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding the Philadelphia Veterans Nursing Home and how it managed to make tremendous improvements with respect to patient care and safety. As we recently discussed, th…

  • Rita Gardner

    My mother was a patient at Clifford Sims Nursing Home in Springfield, Fla. She was sent to the hospital with respitory failure. They did not send her DNR order with her. When she got to the hospital they vendiated her and brought her back to life. Then because she owned $8,000 in back payments they did not keep her bed. So we had to put her in another nursing home in worse condition than she was before she went to the hospital. Isn’t it neglect not to send a persons DNR order from the nursing home to the hospital. This should be against the law. I know you can only sue a state nursing home for $100,000. It’s not the money it’s she’s really goofy know.

  • Rita Gardner

    My comment on my mother who was sent from Sims Nursing Home to the hospital without her DNR order or living will has now passed 6-4-10. She lingered for 83 days suffering every single day as I watched her pass with hospice with me.

  • Annie Lee

    I’m so sorry about your mother. The same thing happened to my grandfather, although he is still still alive. We were told conflicting stories by the nursing home as to what happened. Apparently he was found unconscious during dinner so we assume he might’ve choked on something. He is 93 years old and had a DNR order which was apparently not sent to the hospital and they revived him. It’s only been a few days but it pains us to see him like this, hooked up to a respirator. We’re not sure what’s going to happen but we are afraid and angry as he shouldn’t be going through this – no one should. I was wondering if you ever filed a suit. As you said it’s not about the money – what good will that do but at least there should be some consequences so this doesn’t continue to happen.

  • Annie-
    Sorry to hear about your grandfather. Though this may not help your grandfather directly, I suggest you contact your states department of health and report this situation to the agency. Your complaint will trigger an investigation into the matter and should at least provide you with some insight in the circumstances surrounding your grandfather’s care.
    Complaints such as this are particularly important in light of the fact that they will become part of the facilities record.
    I wish you and your grandfather the best.

  • RN

    As a Registered Nurse, stories of alleged or actual elder abuse are deeply upsetting to me as well. My sympathies go out to those who may have endured the situations described in these posts. However, before this post and many like this become yet another witch hunt for ambulance chasing attorneys and guilt ridden family members, I would like to present another perspective on this topic.
    I will preface my statements by clarifying that there is NO EXCUSE for abuse, neglect or exploitation of those who are weaker than ourselves or depend upon us for care and safety.
    With that said I would like to redirect the readers attention to the many positive aspects of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. I will begin with the one that I work in, this facility has consistently passed external surveys and inspections with minimal or no significant findings by The Joint Commission for Healthcare Organizations and the Long Term Care Institute and has accomplished this amidstbthe current severe nursing shortage, a national healthcare crisis.
    Nurses are the foundation of long term care, particularly Certified Nursing Assistants, who themselves are often subject to physical, verbal and emotional abuse by both residents and family members. This is most often accepted as “a part of the job” and to be expected in the nursing profession. Patient abuse of nursing staff is a very real and common occurrence as well. Reports of nurses being murdered, beaten to death by mentally unstable patients can be found.
    It is not uncommon for family members to admit their “loved ones” to long term care facilities and then never visit them again, or visit them once a year or even longer, this is a form of family on patient abuse from the perspective of a nurse, to isolate your elderly mother, father,spouse from the family unit and leaving them with others who although trained and with good will are still strangers.
    It is not uncommon, and as a nurse, I have witnessed family members who rarely visit their family member in long-term care facilities and when they do finally arrive, theybare immediately on the offensive, nurses are guilty before proven innocent, the good that nurses do goes unnoticed, unmentioned and they immediately begin making accusations, threats and demands, most likely fueled by manipulative and money hungry attorneys who really do not care about the people in the facility or the family, only what their profit potential is in an alleged abuse case.
    family members, please remember that just because your loved one lives in a long term care facility, they still exist, they still need you. Your regular participation in their care is expected if you are capable, this includes adult children, spouses, friends and anyone else who used to be a part of this persons past.
    Family members are encouraged to visit frequently, assist in care, comb your wife or mothers hair, this requires no special medical training. Sit with your elderly father during a meal, help him to open milk cartons or other items, or best of all simply be there to hold their hand.
    Be aware ofvwhen and if you are projecting your own guilt for admitting your family member to a long term care facility upon well meaning nursing staff.
    This is not to say that you should not be vigilant for suspected signs of abuse, as unfortunately it can ocurr, however before jumping to conclusions and quick to blame, take a long look at yourself and ask; “have I done everything that I could do to help my mother, father, spouse during this time’ have I attempted to participate in and be a part of my loved ones health care experienc?”

  • Ja’Nelle

    To the RN’s comment, is this…although what you say may be true, the fact of the matter is this, it gives you nor anyone else the RIGHT, understand me when I say this, the RIGHT to mistreat any human being. Most of these patients are as you previously stated ill or not too aware of their surroundings. So therefore they should only be held to a standard that fits. My grandfather is currently in a nursing home in NC , he immobal and is not responsive, so what about him and the care he deserves? He has been neglected since he has been in their care. He served in Vietnam and had a career of over twenty years serving in the US Army. He nor anyone else’s loved ones deserve to be treated inhumanly b/c your peers feel it rightfully so. To your comment about this may or may not happen, and we as family members should look at ourselves, no you and your fellow Nursing peers should look at yourselves in the mirror and realize that it takes more than a degree that qualifies you as a Nurse. My Aunt is a RN and a soldier, she has been a wonderful attribute to our family and this country, she has never mistreated any of her patients. Either you have what it takes or you don’t, you dont get a pass b/c of past events, you dnt get to mistreat the elderly. I will not stand for it and we will continue forward with pursuing a course of action to have facilities that allow these types of people to hurt others stripped of their license and shutdown.

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