Selecting the right nursing home or care facility for a family member is a stressful and complicated process. It is vital to know that our most vulnerable loved ones are being placed in a caring, comfortable, and safe environment. Unfortunately, recent events have left many nursing and care homes with a lack of staffing, training deficiencies, and supply shortages. When nursing homes fail to meet the basic requirements of care for residents or worse, they must be held accountable.
According to a recent news report, the attorney general’s office of New York has engaged in an enforcement action against the Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Long Island. The action alleges that the owners of Cold Spring Hills created shell companies that illegally diverted more than $22 million in Medicare and Medicaid funds while leaving patients in shocking and inhumane conditions. The lack of treatment led to multiple patients being sent to the hospital, with many dying or suffering from malnutrition, unhygienic conditions, and a complete lack of supervision. In one situation, a diabetic patient was given a wheelchair with no footrests, forcing him to use his feet to drag the chair, resulting in part of his toe being amputated. He would later die at the facility. Another man was admitted to Cold Spring Hills to recover from a car accident, and during his time there lost 30 pounds and was admitted to a hospital with malnutrition and dehydration, a stage 4 sacral pressure injury, and right foot osteomyelitis (an infection in his bone).
How Common is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
According to the advocacy organization Nursing Home Abuse Justice, in 2020, over 15,000 complaints filed with nursing home ombudsmen were about abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, Maryland is no exception to this trend. If you have a loved one or family member in a nursing or long-term care facility, it is vital that you recognize the signs of neglect or abuse and report them promptly to the relevant authorities in order to hold the perpetrators accountable. Signs of abuse range from unexplained bruising to the sudden onset of depression and confusion, or dramatic changes in spending habits. It is important to remember that abuse can be perpetrated by a loved one, caregivers, and staff at a nursing home facility.