Rampant Neglect Found in California Nursing Homes, Report Finds

A recent study has found that California nursing homes are in poor conditions, according the Los Angeles Times. Conducted by Operation Guardians, a project of the Department of Justice, the review discovered widespread health and safety problems in the elder residences. Yet, the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) were who demanded that these inspections be released to the public. The reports are from extensive investigation dating from January 2010 to March 2012, accumulating a number of nursing homes throughout the state. Even after countless measures to prevent the negligence and abuse, the report unearths a glaring lack of enforcement from the Department of Public Health (DPH).

The investigation portrays horrific details, including grimy bedrooms, showers, and kitchens, medicals inaccuracies leading to countless drug overdoses, the unauthorized administration of psychotropic drugs, and patients with untreated bed sores and infections. Beyond those, the report even told of elderly individuals lying in their own feces and urine. These nursing homes appear more like houses of horror than anything reminiscent of comfort and security. Furthermore, as seen so tragically often in elderly abuse cases, some of these nursing homes were submitting falsified medical records and fraudulently billing for services.

Normally, after Operation Guardians inspections were completed, evaluations of facilities’ quality of care and basic sanitation were filed. Each inspection generally generated two reports, one by the inspection team as a whole that assessed the general sanitation and care provided by the facility staff and a medical report written by a medical doctor who specializes in geriatrics.

One report noted at a home, “Residents are being avoidably harmed due to deficient nursing care in a number of aspects, including pressure ulcer prevention and treatment.”

Another noted, “Systemic problems in the nursing department included the listing of inaccurate diagnoses, poor end-of-life care, avoidable dehydration and inadequate fall prevention.”

While CANHR has applauded Operation Guardians for its informative and eye-opening account, the advocacy organization calls for the need of action and legislation. The “paucity of enforcement” is an evident causation for these abhorring events, CANHR says. This investigation brings to light the very defective nature of many of state’s nursing homes. Granted these reports are not indicative of all California nursing facilities, the fact that there are number of substandard—to be generous—elder institutions still remains.

Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the office of Department of Public Health, said “We take very seriously elder abuse and Medi-Cal fraud. We are very concerned … that Medi-Cal dollars are spent appropriately and that the individuals in these skilled nursing facilities are treated well.”

Yet will concern translate into action? Some of the reports can be hard to read, let alone imagine? Until certain changes come into effect, it appears California’s nursing homes are not in a stable condition. These reports reveal an egregious lack of care and duty. Now, if you at all see any symptoms of negligent or abusive care, as comparably described in these inspections, call our San Diego elderly abuse attorneys right away. You or your loved one deserves a safe and secure residence. You should not have to fight this alone.

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