A half dozen veterans’ groups representing nearly 5 million members asked the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve the care at its nursing homes after an investigative report by USA TODAY and the Boston Globe revealed “blatant disregard for veteran safety” at a VA nursing home in Massachusetts.
A whistleblower had alerted officials of about possible signs of nursing home neglect at the Brockton VA facility, such as bedside urinals left unemptied and patients being regularly left unchecked. The home knew health officials would be following up on those claims by inspecting the facility for potential signs of neglect. But when inspectors arrived, they found two nurses sleeping on the job.
The incidents of neglect are not limited to the Brockton VA facility. In one case, a Navy veteran was declared dead after he walked out of a VA nursing home in Tuskegee, Alabama, never to be heard from again. At another VA home, a patient sat in soiled sheets for hours. An Army vet in a Livermore, California, home ended up in intensive care after suffering from malnutrition, septic shock and bed sores.
The rampant stories of patient neglect at the VA facilities have prompted veterans’ groups to demand VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to take action. “The VA must address and correct these issues,” said Garry Augustine, executive director of Disabled Veterans of America.
There are 133 VA nursing homes in the United States that provide care to about 46,000 veterans each year. According to newly released data from the VA, 95 of those homes – or 71 percent – had lower quality of care scores compared to private nursing homes.
VFW National Commander Vincent “BJ” Lawrence said the failures were devastating for family members of VA patients, who “deserve to know that their loved ones – their heroes – are not being abandoned or abused, and America needs to be reassured that the VA is honoring our nation’s promise to those who have borne the battle.”
Source: CBS 8