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.
Of all the forms of abuse prevalent in nursing homes, neglect is the most common one. Simply put, neglect takes place any time an individual does not get the level of care they require; for example, when a man from Mississippi in his 80s has problems feeding himself and doesn't get fed regularly by a caregiver, this is considered neglect and abuse, which is a very serious matter and needs to be handled immediately.
Nursing homes in Mississippi are generally geared to create a community atmosphere for those who live in them. They also tend to have skilled nurses and other medical professionals on staff. However, there are issues that an individual may not be aware of when entering a home or entering a family member into one. For instance, some nursing homes don't allow lawsuits and instead require arbitration.
Health care facilities in Mississippi and throughout America may benefit from a new Trump administration policy. He is rolling back fines that were levied against nursing homes that had been cited for abuse or neglect in the past. During the Obama administration, two-thirds of nursing homes that were cited for severe violations received fines. Under the new policy, homes will either not be fined or will receive smaller ones.
Many Mississippi residents have loved ones that are in nursing homes and may be shocked by the prevalence of nursing home neglect and abuse. A recent congressional report highlighted the extent of the problem, pointing to a need for major reforms.