Correcting Tennessee Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Nursing home abuse–like most widespread, longstanding problems–unfortunately doesn’t make the news very often. It’s usually only publicized when some new Tennessee nursing home is closed because of care violations, staff abuse, or general neglect. That’s why I found it refreshing when NewsChannel 5 (Nashville) reported Friday on the general issue of Tennessee’s negligent nursing home care and not just on a single nursing home’s violations.

Anchors opened the story with simple facts about Tennessee nursing home suspensions (20 state-suspended admissions in 2007, three times 2005’s number of nursing homes) and covered much of the same ground I’ve blogged about this past year, including the Tennessee Veterans Home in Murfreesboro’s multiple cited violations for preventing violence among their residents and the three nursing homes whose Medicare was cut off because of violations and closed in 2007 (Cornelia House in Nashville, Mitchell Manor in Lebanon, TN and the Ripley Healthcare Center in Ripley, TN).

Again, the general poor care of these individual Tennessee nursing homes was not the story. NewsChannel 5 instead chose to explore how it is difficult and unfair to Tennesseans that options for better care or home care are not available. Their suggested solution, and you can read more here, is to make managers and nursing home staff “worry about their jobs” by expanding options for facilitated care for our Tennessee elderly.

“Of the more than one billion dollars spent by Tennessee and the federal government on long term care, 99 percent goes to nursing homes. It’s the highest rate in the country. The state rarely helps people take care of a loved one at home.”

While this may be a step in the right direction, the other way of reducing abuse does not involve making the overworked nurses and nursing home staff “worry about their jobs” or subsidizing home care. Instead of shooting the messenger, we can hold accountable those who own nursing homes who have a larger control of their conditions. Owners are the ones who cut jobs in Tennessee nursing homes and turn a hefty profit off Medicare (as I’ve blogged here). Their decisions often determine whether or not residents will have the personal attention necessary to prevent falls, bedsores, and others forms of negligent nursing home injuries.
These persons listen to a bottom line and profits. The way to cut into the profits made from inferior care is a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Such nursing home lawsuits not only help relieve the injured or their survivors of medical bills and costs, they promote better quality care across the board. Fill out HHP’s quick contact form to speak with me about any questions or concerns you may have.

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