Nursing Home Verdict Rattles Long-Term Care Industry

The AP has a story out today about the Skilled Healthcare Group verdict in Northern California, where a Humboldt jury awarded a class of plaintiffs $677 million dollars for what it determined was chronic and deliberate pattern of understaffing at its nursing homes that left elderly residents at risk of harm. The jury found that Skilled Healthcare regularly violated state regulations requiring it to keep a minimum number of nurses on duty at its 22 homes in the state.

One witness in the case recalled visiting her father, who had Alzheimer’s disease, and frequently finding him lying in urine-soaked sheets. She said it would routinely take up to 20 minutes for someone to respond to a call light.

“The major problem for most nursing homes in California and in the nation is staffing,” Pat McGinnis, executive director and founder of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, told the AP.

The article notes that Wall Street investment firms bought several nursing home chains in the early 2000’s, and, critics charge, went on to drastically reduce staffing levels. (For example) Skilled Healthcare, a public company, saw its stock value plunge as a result of the verdict, and now others wonder if their next. Many of the country’s 16,000 nursing homes are owned by publicly traded companies.

To read the entire AP article click here.

The nursing home neglect lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represent seniors and dependent adults who have been abused or neglected in the skilled nursing facility, residential care facility for the elderly, and assisted living setting. Cases are accepted in all Southern California counties. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free and confidential consultation.

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