Cost Cutting at Nursing Homes Leaves Customer Care Lacking

There is a dangerous and growing trend in the nursing care industry that emphasizes profits at the expense of care.  Elderly abuse or neglect has been reported in one out of every three nursing homes in the United States.

Why is this happening?  The rise in the cost of medical care has made nursing-home care a lucrative business.  Whenever there is money to be made, big business will attempt to capitalize.  More large public companies are operating nursing homes than ever before.

This shift towards profits ultimately has a negative impact on the quality of care.  The reason for this is that the nursing home industry is primarily a service industry and cutting costs essentially means cutting staff.  It is not hard to imagine that fewer staff can lead to substandard care; that substandard care can lead to negligence and neglect; and that negligence and neglect can lead to accidents and death.

Here are some troubling statistics:

  • 1.4 million  —  Current number of people who are living in U.S. nursing homes
  • 20,673  —  Complaints of abuse and gross neglect on behalf of nursing home residents in 2003
  • 1 in 14  —  Number of incidents of elder abuse reported to authorities
  • 90%  —   Percentage of U.S. nursing homes with staffing levels too low to provide adequate care
  • 16%  —  Drop in nurse assistants’ hours per resident day
  • $1.2 million  —  Amount Veena Ahjua, operator of a 314-bed New York nursing home, paid herself in 2000
  • 1 million  —  2006 Salary of Genesis HealthCare Corporation CEO, George V. Hager, Jr
  • $23,193  —  Median annual salary of a Certified Nurse Assistant 2008
  • 4.55  —  Recommended minimum hours of direct nursing care per resident per day
  • 3.7  —  Actual hours of direct nursing care per resident per day

http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/3005.htm?Site=aaj

A recent report produced by CBS found shocking forms of abuse occurring inside nursing homes across the country:

“CBS News first reported last year with the story of Helen Love. She was attacked by a certified nurse’s assistant at a Sacramento facility, who was angered she’d soiled herself.  ‘He choked me and went and broke my neck and broke my wrist,’ said Love.” http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-304038.html

It may be hard to imagine these types of atrocities happening, but they do.  Nurses are being asked to do more work for less pay.  This leads to an unsustainable situation.

There are 6 different types of abuse that you should know about:

  1. Physical abuse – the use of force to cause bodily injury or pain
  2. Emotional abuse- intimidation, humiliation, and isolation . . . feeling bullied
  3. Neglect- failure to provide for necessities . . . bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration
  4. Abandonment- the desertion of an elderly person by someone responsible
  5. Financial exploitation- defrauding, coercion, theft
  6. Self-neglect- malnutrition, untreated medical conditions, poor hygiene

Our loved ones are more than just numbers on a corporate spreadsheet.  They deserve to be treated with care, love, and attention.  If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of nursing home negligence, please contact Cuthbert Law Offices.  We specialize in Accidents, Personal Injuries, and Social Security Disability.