A Texas-based nursing home company may soon find itself answering for allegedly abusive practices in a New Mexico courtroom. The company operates over 100 assisted living facilities in 12 states. The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office recently filed suit against the organization, alleging that low staffing levels led to abusive practices, including soiled beds and unattended emergency situations, such as falls. According to court documents, the nursing home facilities were deficient by as much as 50 percent on state assessment scores. The state recorded 450 complaints from 2011 to 2014, although only four of them resulted in actual cases. Since 2008, the nursing home company has collected over $236 million in revenue, with about 80 percent of that money coming from Medicare or Medicaid.
Nursing Home Abuse
Reliable statistics are very hard to ascertain, since so many elder abuse situations are unreported. Many seniors fear retaliation if they report abuse, or they do not want a relative or friend to “get into trouble.” About nine million cases a year are reported to authorities, and with the over 65 population set to explode in coming decades, incidents of abuse will almost surely escalate commensurately. Elder abuse can happen anywhere, whether in a care facility or in a private home. Some common examples include:
- Physical: Many patients are so frail, either due to illness or age or both, that it only takes a small amount of force, such as a light squeeze or a subtle push, to cause serious injury.
- Emotional: Some patients are isolated away from friends and family, either as a form of punishment or due to negligent oversight.
- Neglect: If a resident falls or gets into a fight with another patient, there may be no qualified staff to help.
Understaffed facilities are breeding grounds for all these forms of abuse. When staff levels are low, the overstressed workers tend to act out. They may also be unable, or unwilling, to provide necessary physical and emotional services. Damages in an elder abuse case can include compensation for both economic and non-economic injuries, as well as punitive damages, in many situations. Elder abuse is widespread in South Central Texas. For a free consultation with an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney, contact our office. After-hours and hospital appointments are available.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]