Rise in patient injuries at for-profit nursing homes

A recent article in The Washington Post reported that HCR ManorCare, one of the largest nursing home corporations in the United States, had a staggering rise in patient injuries and health code violations after it was acquired by the Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm. In 2007, Carlyle bought HCR ManorCare for $6.1 billion. Carlyle then sold all of the real estate owned by HCR ManorCare and slashed administrative costs. This led to significant debt that financially crippled HCR ManorCare. They declared bankruptcy earlier this year. They are now owned by a non-profit company. To no one’s surprise, just before the bankruptcy, the former CEO of HCR ManorCare took home $117 million dollars in compensation.

Washington Post reporters found that the Carlyle group blamed reduction in Medicare reimbursement for their financial problems, but noted that other nursing homes were able to adjust. In the years prior to bankruptcy, health-code violations and injuries to patients skyrocketed. Inspectors found bedsores, falls and infections all increased in number. Experts consulted by the Post said that these types of injuries are a signal that the nursing home has a lack of qualified nursing care. “Bedsores occur at nursing homes because there are not enough people to move residents who are confined to their beds… falls happen because there is a lack of staff to answer bells to help people get to the bathroom.” According to a nursing professor interviewed by the Post, “Almost all of these issues relate to staffing-either not enough people or not enough training.”

The Washington Post also interviewed several former employees of HCR ManorCare, who reported constant understaffing, faulty safety equipment and cheaper supplies. It is no wonder that the number of lawsuits for patient injury and neglect also started to rise.

At The O’Keefe Firm, we have seen similar issues in our local community. The problem isn’t just confined to HCR ManorCare facilities. We have seen an increase in falls, bedsores and other dangerous conditions at virtually every nursing home in our area. In elderly patients, these types of injuries are often life-changing and sometimes fatal. We believe that there is an inherent conflict of interest when a for-profit company attempts to care for those who cannot care for themselves. We have represented families all over western Ohio against nursing facilities that have harmed residents. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of nursing home negligence, call us at 937-643-0600 for a free consultation.

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