If you have made the difficult decision to place a parent or other loved one into a nursing home, you are probably daunted by the process of actually doing that. With so many nursing home options in Bergen County and throughout New Jersey, how can families find and choose the facility that is the best equipped to treat their loved one?
When one nursing home resident passes away for an unexpected but preventable reason, it is called an accident. When four residents suffer that same fate in the short span of three months, it is indicative of a troubling pattern of nursing home neglect.
The family of a New Jersey woman who was hit by a car and killed in 2010 has filed a lawsuit against the nursing care facility from which the woman allegedly escaped on the night she died. In their lawsuit, the family alleges that the nursing home was negligent in allowing the woman to escape, especially given their knowledge of her mental disorders and the fact that she was at an elevated risk of leaving the facility without warning.
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, one of the most shocking stories to come from the storm- and flood-ravaged region was that of the mass lack of preparedness of area nursing homes. At one facility, 35 residents died during the storm, with some believed to have drowned in their beds when the building flooded.
The baby boomers are retiring, and advances in medicine are keeping people alive longer than ever before. New vaccines and breakthrough medicines will continue to develop, increasing the number of elderly Americans. An increase in the number of older Americans will likely lead to the need for more caretakers and nursing homes, which could increase the risk of New Jersey nursing home abuse in different forms.
Two nursing home employees have lost their medical licenses after pleading guilty to endangering the welfare of an incompetent person and willful violation of health laws. For one of the employees, this was her third citation for nursing home negligence, which makes her involvement in the most recent offense even more disturbing.
In a recent ranking of all 50 U.S. states, New Jersey fell in the bottom 10 states in terms of the percentage of nursing home patients who develop bedsores or are hospitalized for an injury or illness related to their nursing home care. If New Jersey had the level of care of the highest-ranking state, the report indicates, approximately 6,000 hospitalizations that are the result of nursing home neglect or abuse could be avoided every year.
Earlier this week, we began a discussion of insufficient and intentionally falsified medical care records in nursing homes. This all-too-common occurrence has been brought to light with a recent lawsuit in which the husband of a deceased woman alleged that her death was the result of nursing home abuse and neglect. In the suit, he claims that facility employees improperly handled and falsified his wife's medical charts in an effort to cover up their actions.
New Jersey families who have made the difficult decision to place a parent in a nursing home know of the shift that occurs once your loved one is officially under the care of the nursing home staff. When you are no longer tasked with your loved one's daily care, you may find yourself completely out of the loop, with little to no knowledge about your parent's daily routine, medical care and treatment, and any issues that may come up.
A local newspaper investigation has revealed that the overwhelming majority of nursing homes in several New Jersey counties are consistently receiving low ratings from the federal agency tasked with evaluating the facilities. Violations that led to the low ratings are common examples of nursing home neglect: medication error, unclean and unsafe living conditions, untreated injuries and infections, and residents being ignored or left unattended.