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Understaffing at nursing homes appears to be the underlying reason for continued problems and abuses according to a just-released national report examining nursing home abuse and neglect. The story is from

Report IDs roots of elderly neglect

“The Faces of Neglect: Behind the Closed Doors of Nursing Homes,” commissioned by the National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, gives a look-back at the events and conditions surrounding 36 residents of long-term care facilities in 12 states.

All but one of the 36 case studies in the book tell the stories of people who eventually filed lawsuits alleging poor care and lack of enforcement of laws regulating long-term care facilities:

*Katherine J. entered a nursing home with a small, red, blistered area on her buttocks. Within five days, an 11-inch by 13-inch pressure sore covering both buttocks developed. The doctor ordered a special mattress, and the woman was to have her food pureed to receive better nutrition to help heal her pressure sore. The orders were not followed. Despite documentation by nurses of the woman’s severe pain, the only pain medication she was given was an occasional Tylenol. Eight days after being admitted, she was hospitalized with a high fever, fecal impaction, infected pressure sores and sepsis, which is an infection in the blood. The woman died two days later.

*Albert S. could feed himself when he was admitted to the nursing home, but his food and drink intake dropped afterward. Staff failed to follow a care plan that addressed his continued weight loss and dehydration. Five months after admission, he aspirated food into his lungs, then began running a fever and had greenish-yellow secretions when coughing. His daughter insisted he be hospitalized; he died three days later from aspiration pneumonia and renal failure due to dehydration.

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