Hundreds of thousands of people are the victim of elder abuse every year. The problem is nothing short of an epidemic, and a tragic one at that. From fraud to exploitation and even to sexual abuse, when an elder suffers at the hands of a caregiver, it’s a shocking betrayal of trust as well as a criminal act. Unfortunately, even with more awareness and greater enforcement of laws, the problem continues.
Among the most shocking occurrences of this kind of abuse over the past few years has been the news coming out of Genesis Healthcare, one of the largest nursing home groups in the entire nation. From reports of hospice fraud to sexual assault, this group has been wracked with bad publicity, bad press, and criminal charges. Learn about the problems faced by Genesis Healthcare, and how an elder abuse attorney can help your loved one who is the victim of similar abuse.
Spotlight on Genesis Healthcare
The problems with Genesis Healthcare began with a series of allegations leveled against one of the group’s nursing homes, and a 1-star rating from the Medicare government website. The location, the Park East facility, has been fined over $200,000 for a wrongful death case inside the facility, the largest fine in over four years. This fine doesn’t count the tens of thousands in restitution the facility has had to pay to victims of the abuse suffered within.
In one case, wrongful conduct was found when an employee sprayed cleaning solution into the eyes of a resident on purpose. Another incident involved a resident’s death when facility staff didn’t clean a breathing tube. Though the act, in this case, was unintentional, it was still criminally negligent.
Fraudulent Billing Charges
In addition, in the summer of 2017, the organization was ordered to pay $54 million in fines to those who acted as whistleblowers, exposing the company’s practices of fraudulent billing for treating those who did not require hospice care.
Ongoing Abuse and Neglect
The charges of neglect and abuse aren’t confined to a single location, either. With over 411 facilities across 30 states and an operating revenue of well over $4.5 billion, the company has become a prime example of the legal issues that go along with such a bloated organization.
A Kentucky facility was sued by a patient who was a ward of the state, which resulted in the indictment of three different employees and a total of 18 counts of criminal abuse. In Charleston, a man sued for wrongful death when his father passed after two months in the facility. A Fayette County facility was sued for neglect, abuse, and mistreatment of a woman who had been there for just over a month when her injuries resulted in death.
An Epidemic Problem
While Genesis Healthcare may represent some of the worst problems with this kind of abuse, they’re certainly not alone. It’s vital that those who have senior loved ones in nursing homes be ever vigilant for the signs of nursing home abuse. This behavior is illegal and criminal, and can be at the misdemeanor or felony level as well as entitling you and your loved ones to compensation for the injuries suffered.
Watch for signs like bed sores, malnutrition and dehydration, broken bones, cuts, bruises and strange or uncharacteristic behavior. If your loved one seems fearful, afraid of contact, moody, angry or aggressive, this can be a sign of abuse. In addition, if the staff seem to be isolating your parent or try to keep you from being alone with them, these are major red flags. If you notice any unusual withdrawals in their finances, this can also be a sign of exploitation.
Watch for signs that your loved one is depressed, becoming withdrawn or feeling worthless. If you notice them getting sudden and unexplained illnesses, especially STDs, this is certainly a red flag. Watch for decreased interest in activities they once enjoyed or for suicidal ideations.
Hire an Elder Abuse Attorney
If you notice any of these symptoms, your senior parent or loved one could be the victim of abuse. The first thing to do in these cases is to report the issue to the local authorities so they can conduct an investigation.
The next thing to do is contact a qualified and experienced elder abuse attorney like the Stewart Bell Injury Lawyers. We can help you get compensation for the injuries suffered while the authorities pursue criminal justice against the perpetrators of the abuse. Call us for help and a free consultation today.