The federal government is going to start keeping a closer eye on nursing homes in Mississippi and other states, according to a recent announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The action is designed to reduce incidents of nursing home neglect and abuse nationwide.
In Mississippi and other parts of the United States, nursing home neglect is a common occurrence. Two women recently reported instances of abuse toward their elderly mothers. After reading their report, the United States Senate Committee on Finance decided to hold an official hearing about nursing home neglect. Legislators were angered over the reports about nursing home abuse occurring in facilities across the country. Many of these situations could have been prevented.
Under the Trump administration, nursing homes in Mississippi and across the U.S. receive lower fines for committing violations that endanger or injure residents than they did under the Obama administration. The fine reduction is the result of the Trump administration bending to nursing home industry pressure to change the way fines are assessed.
Most people who place an elderly loved one in a Mississippi nursing home expect a certain level of care to be maintained. Unfortunately, neglect remains one of the most typical forms of abuse in U.S. nursing homes. Instances of this type of abuse can include oversights with basic hygiene and failure to provide assistance with daily tasks like eating and maintaining mobility.
Many people in Mississippi were shocked when hearing the news that a 29-year old resident at a long-term health facility had given birth to a baby boy. The resident had required round-the-clock nursing care since the age of three and suffered from profound intellectual and physical disabilities. After an investigation during which male staffers were required to submit their DNA for testing, investigators determined that a male nurse had fathered the baby.
For too many elderly or incapacitated people in Mississippi, abuse or neglect inside a nursing home is a fact of life. Family members may be concerned about how they can protect people who may not be able to advocate for themselves, especially if they are dealing with dementia, developmental disabilities or other conditions that make them less able to speak about their experiences. Several disturbing incidents have highlighted the potential for abuse in the nursing home context, including a young developmentally disabled woman who was raped and beaten and a woman in a vegetative state who was discovered to be pregnant.
Mississippi residents may have heard about a story involving a woman in a vegetative state who gave birth in December 2018. The woman had been in that state for roughly two decades when her son was born. Although nursing home caretakers were watching over the woman on a 24/7 basis, no one has acknowledged anything out of the ordinary took place prior to the event. According to one person familiar with the incident, she would not have been able to defend herself against a sexual assault.
The history of almshouses, charitable housing for the poor, old and distressed, predates the settlement of America. Over the years, conditions in these facilities have been the subject of much debate. With the post-Depression establishment of government-funded social programs and the advent of Medicare and Medicaid, skilled nursing facilities grew exponentially to care for the aging population. Unfortunately, the quality of care in Mississippi nursing homes is not always ideal.
Families in Mississippi may be concerned about the standard of care their elderly parents and other loved ones are receiving in nursing homes. Reports of nursing home neglect and abuse can send chills up the spines of even the most dedicated family members who have thoroughly researched their elderly relatives' care providers. According to one study, residents in for-profit nursing homes are almost twice as likely to have health problems as a result of negligent or substandard care than those living in nonprofit facilities or community homes.
Reports of neglect in Mississippi nursing homes and throughout the country are increasing at an alarming rate. Investigations of these incidents typically reveal the problems to be due to understaffing, a lack of training provided to the staff or a combination of both. Far more pernicious is the rise of intentional abuse inflicted on the elderly residents by their caretakers.