In a report issued on July 17, 2012 involving a review of fourteen California nursing homes investigated by California’s Operation Guardians, it was reported that there were wide-spread problems involving residents having bed sores (pressure ulcers) that were under-reported and under-treated, as well as many instances when residents were over-medicated with psychotropic drugs without their consent in order to control their behavior.
Other serious problems found in the California nursing homes included common medication mistakes resulting in harmful overdoses in residents, residents being left in their own feces and urine, and unsanitary and unclean residents’ rooms, showers, and kitchens. The report also found falsified medical records and fraudulent billing practices among the California nursing homes reviewed.
Operation Guardians is “a multi-agency task force established and led by Attorney General Bill Lockyer to conduct surprise, on-site inspections of California’s skilled nursing facilities. The task force aims to protect and help to improve the quality of care for elderly and dependent adult residents by identifying and correcting violations of applicable federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.” Source
Operation Guardians averages about one inspection of California nursing homes per month evaluating their compliance with sanitation and quality of care standards that results in two reports being issued: one assessing the nursing home’s general sanitation and the level of care provided by its staff, and the other written by a physician who specializes in geriatric medicine. The reports are forwarded to the California Department of Public Health for its own investigation and for enforcement actions against the nursing homes, when appropriate. However, the reports from Operation Guardians are not made public.
The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (“CANHR”) filed a request pursuant to California’s Public Records Act to obtain the reports issued by Operation Guardians from January 1, 2010 through March 7, 2012, which CANHR posted on its website.
In describing its conclusion based upon its review of the Operation Guardians reports, CANHR stated, “The reports demonstrate that some nursing homes are houses of horror with life threatening filthy conditions, lack of staff to perform core functions, and poor management.”
There is absolutely no excuse for nursing home residents to live in unsanitary conditions. There is no justification for nursing home residents to live in excruciating pain because they developed bed sores or their bed sores got worse because of the lack of timely and proper care. There is no legitimate medical reason to medicate nursing home residents with psychotropic drugs to make them sleepy or sedated solely so that they do not (or cannot) ask for or receive necessary assistance and attention. And there is no way anyone can justify fraudulent billing for services not provided by the nursing homes or the nursing homes falsifying medical records to record medical care that was not given.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse, the efforts of a local medical malpractice attorney (nursing home attorney) may help you determine if a nursing home claim can be made for the injuries and losses that resulted from nursing home neglect, nursing home abuse, or medical malpractice that occurred in a nursing home.
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