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Massachusetts nursing home neglect and abuse investigations fail to substantiate majority of complaints

The Patriot Ledger published an outstanding report on Massachusetts nursing homes over the weekend, full of informative resources for anyone considering placing a loved one in a nursing home or assisted-living facility.

More than half of the nation’s nursing homes are operated by large chain corporations and two-thirds are for-profit companies. Placing a loved one in a caring home requires diligence and some homework. And ensuring the safety of our elderly residents requires everyone visiting a nursing home to remain aware of the potential for neglect or abuse.
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Massachusetts nursing home neglect and abuse complaints were launched almost daily by state investigators last year — 339 investigations in all — yet less than one-third of the complaints were substantiated by investigators.

The Patriot Ledger reports an aide at the highly-rated Hancock Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center was charged with rape last week after a complaint by a 68-year-old resident. There were no red flags at the home, or concerning the employee, prior to the charges.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health determined evidence of abuse or neglect was present in findings against 41 nursing aides statewide during the past two years, while another 55 agreed to voluntary license suspensions. Another 11 aides received warning letters.

Tragically, nursing home neglect and abuse complaints sometimes go unsubstantiated because of a lack of evidence in cases involving only an allegation from a resident and a denial from an employee. The isolation faced by many nursing home residents often complicates an investigation. In other case, dementia, Alzheimer’s or other medical conditions can make a resident less able to defend themselves against neglect or abuse.

The following resources are among those available to families considering a Massachusetts nursing home:

-Inspection reports and other details available through the state’s Nursing Home Survey system.

-The federal government’s Medicare Guide to selecting a nursing home.

-Massachusetts Department of Public Health nursing home survey.

The Patriot Ledger’s report also offers a host of other resources, as well as tips for choosing a nursing home and signs of elder neglect or abuse.

If your family is dealing with suspected nursing home neglect or abuse, or if you have concerns about a Massachusetts nursing home, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.