USA Today reports that “from April through December 2018, inspectors from a private contractor cited 52 out of 99 VA nursing homes for deficiencies that caused “actual harm” to veterans. In three facilities, they found veterans’ health and safety in “immediate jeopardy,” and in eight, inspectors found both veteran “harm” and “jeopardy.” The facilities cited for shortfalls that caused harm are in 25 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Harm and jeopardy are standard categories of severity in the industry, but non-VA nursing homes are rarely cited for them.”
The outside contractors who performed the surprise inspections at the VA nursing homes found that staff at more than two dozen VA nursing homes failed to take steps to ensure bedsores healed or new ones did not develop. The inspectors also found at two out of three VA nursing homes that the staff often did not follow simple protocols, such as wearing sterile gowns and gloves when treating residents, and at more than 50 VA nursing homes, residents were not properly monitored or were exposed to hazardous conditions.
The inspectors observed that water used for washing hands and bathing was so dangerously hot at nursing homes in Carrollton, Georgia; Martinsburg, West Virginia; and St Cloud, Minnesota, that it could scald residents, particularly those with dementia or other conditions that make them less sensitive to pain or heat. The water temperature at those VA nursing homes – up to 128 degrees in two cases – were intended to kill Legionella bacteria but were too high to be safe for residents.
The inspectors reportedly cited a number of VA nursing homes, including in Washington, for failing to meet standards of care in as many as 10 key categories, such as treating residents with dignity. The worst VA nursing home was in Jackson, Mississippi, which was reportedly cited with failures in 12 areas.
The cost to taxpayers for VA nursing homes is reportedly $1,125 per day, compared to an average cost of $296 per day in private nursing homes and $174 per day in state-run nursing homes where the VA pays a portion of the cost (the VA contends that the rates are not directly comparable because VA nursing home costs include hospital care and more expensive medical services that are not available in most non-VA nursing homes).
The VA promises to post reports for its remaining 35 nursing homes by October 2019.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a VA nursing home due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, a nursing home fall, or the nursing home failing to properly care for a vulnerable adult, you should promptly find a VA nursing home claim lawyer in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a VA nursing home claim on your behalf or behalf of your loved one, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys (nursing home claim attorneys) in your U.S. state who may assist you with your nursing home claim, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.
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