We have experienced a spike in inquiries regarding Texas nursing home complaints since Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas in late August 2017. Many of the heart-wrenching complaints involve not only the conditions nursing home residents are experiencing since Hurricane Harvey barreled through, but also the horrendous squalor that some Texas nursing home residents had been living in that only came to light as first responders valiantly helped those residents directly affected by the hurricane and the media’s attention inadvertently drew attention to the subhuman conditions that some Texas nursing home residents were enduring.
The Office of the Attorney General of Texas defines nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect, and nursing home resident exploitation as follows:
Abuse includes involuntary seclusion, intimidation, humiliation, harassment, threats of punishment, deprivation, hitting, slapping, pinching, kicking, any type of corporal punishment, sexual assault, sexual coercion, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, or any oral, written, or gestured language that includes disparaging or derogatory terms, regardless of the person’s ability to hear or comprehend.
Neglect means the failure of a caretaker to provide the goods or services, including medical services, which are necessary to avoid physical or emotional harm or pain.
Exploitation includes a caretaker’s using the resources of a senior for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain. Seniors may need help with their finances, but unless they hand control over to another person, they have the same right as anyone else to receive, spend, invest, save, or give away their money. A family member, “friend,” or nursing home may not take control of a senior’s money without that person’s permission.
A resident of a nursing home or other facility may review all of his or her records. This includes medical, nursing, financial, social, contractual, and legal records. These records may not be released without the individual’s permission, except when required by law or when the resident is transferred to another facility.
The Texas Attorney General warns, “If a person complains about poor care, or if a family member speaks up about poor conditions at a facility, it is a violation of the law for the nursing home or any of its employees to intimidate or retaliate in any way against the resident or the family. A nursing home must have an effective procedure for receiving complaints and for responding to those complaints.”
According to the Texas Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman’s “Nursing Facility Managed Care Report March 1 – August 31, 2015,” Texas has 1,207 nursing homes that provide nursing and dementia care, rehabilitation and therapy, and assistance with basic daily living needs. About 93,000 people live in nursing homes in Texas (nearly two thirds (64%) of those use Medicaid to pay for their care). In 2015, 838 nursing home residents chose to move to their own home or a family home, and 303 chose to move to an assisted living facility or other kind of shared residential setting.
Some Texas Nursing Home Statistics
Pressure Ulcers (Bed Sores)
A pressure ulcer (now called a pressure injury) is localized damage to the skin and underlying soft tissue. Pressure injuries usually occur over a bony prominence, such as the tailbone, hips, or shoulders, and may also be related to a medical or other device. The pressure injury can present as intact skin or an open ulcer, and the individual may experience pain related to the injury. Pressure injuries occur as a result of intense and/or prolonged pressure or pressure in combination with shear. Many different factors can impact how the soft tissue is affected by pressure and shear, including a resident’s nutritional status and other medical conditions.
In 2015, 8% of Texas nursing home residents suffered a pressure injury (12% of those were Stage 4).
Texas Nursing Home Trends
In 2015, 21% of Texas nursing home residents were receiving at least one antipsychotic medication (the percent of Texas nursing home residents with a diagnosed anxiety disorder and who received anti-anxiety medications has increased over time).
In 2015, when compared to previous years, the percent of Texas nursing home residents with full bedrails decreased; other types of bedrails (i.e., partial bedrails) were used more frequently; trunk restraints were used more frequently; and, Texas nursing home residents were less likely to be placed in a chair that prevented rising (residents were more likely to be restrained at the request of a family member or guardian than in previous years).
The percent of Texas nursing home residents (or family members/guardians) who expressed satisfaction with their experience in the nursing facility and the health care services they received has remained relatively stable over time (88% in 2015).
However, the percent of Texas nursing home residents who stated they had concerns the facility did not address (20%) increased in 2015 when compared to previous years, and the percent of residents who stated they had concerns they did not express due to a fear of retaliation (8%) also increased in 2015 when compared to previous years.
Just over one-third of Texas nursing home residents stated they had a favorite caregiver. Of those who had a favorite caregiver, less than half of residents were able to choose to have that caregiver take care of them.
In 2015, less than one-third (31%) of Texas nursing home residents stated they had participated in care plan meetings.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Texas due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home understaffing, or resident on resident abuse, you should promptly contact a Texas nursing home claim attorney who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with nursing home claim lawyers in Texas who may assist you with your nursing home case, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.