Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 09, 2014
With the elderly population continuing to expand, nursing homes are expected to continue to become more and more popular for elderly people who cannot continue living in their own homes or who choose the convenience and comfort of a nursing home. But a new report by the federal Office of Health and Human Services, released in February of 2014, paints a troubling picture of the industry.
Medical Malpractice and Elder Abuse Lawyer Jin Lew says "this federal study brings to light a widespread problem in a nearly unprecedented way. Since states are responsible for oversight of nursing homes, we can gather data on individual states. State by state data is helpful but to see how widespread the problem is, a national study like this was essential. Hopefully it leads to change."
While Michels & Lew, the Los Angeles law firm founded more than 30 years ago, represents clients of all ages, Lew says "we are particularly focused on the most vulnerable members of society who receive medical care below professional standards. The young and the old are often mistreated or given substandard medical care. We fight for justice on their behalf. This new report indicates that safety advocates and elder abuse law firms like Michels & Lew must continue to hold the nursing home and elder care industry accountable. Conditions must be improved," Lew says in reference to the federal report.
The report focuses on 2008-2011 and samples Medicare patients from throughout the nation discharged from hospitals and transferred to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The data shows approximately a third of the nursing home residents were harmed by their treatment. The study also found some of the nursing home injuries suffered were unavoidable but these were in the minority. Nearly 60% were the result of substandard care, unsafe facilities or medical mistakes.
In Ina Jaffe's story published on March 5, 2014 by National Public Radio ("A Third Of Nursing Home Patients Harmed By Their Treatment"), she quotes Ruth Ann Dorrill, the Deputy Regional Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services. Dorrill says " 'we were surprised at the seriousness of many cases' " and "many of the problems they observed were failures in ordinary, everyday care. Lack of monitoring and paying attention was definitely a factor, along with 'what clinicians would call substandard medical care.' "
Lew, however, is not surprised. "We see cases here in California where nursing home staff respond incorrectly to an emergency or a patient is given a medicine that interacts with another in a catastrophic way. We see nursing homes that are understaffed and unable to respond to the needs of all residents. The list goes on for how residents are put at risk. This recent study shows that our experiences are not unusual. In fact, people throughout the nation are at risk in many nursing homes. This must change especially as the industry continues to grow. Until all nursing homes prioritize the highest standards of care, Michels & Lew will continue advocating for seniors and pursuing justice on behalf of those who are injured."