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Companies make finding liability in nursing home neglect hard

Deciding to place a loved in a nursing home is rarely an easy decision, and it is often devastating when a family realizes that they can no longer care for a beloved parent or grandparent. However, some of the California nursing homes that families turned to for help may have actually done more harm than good. According to some, the necessary action to protect patients from nursing home neglect isn't being taken.

Among one chain of California nursing homes, the turnover rate for its nursing staff was a shocking 90 percent. Combined with the information that another statewide chain of homes received complaints of abuse seven times higher than other similar nursing homes, the uneasiness and worry that some families might experience when putting their loved in in a nursing home can be understandable. One of the more complex issues that families might be unaware of until it's too late is who actually owns many of these homes.

Certain businesses and companies have been accused of creating a messy corporate web to avoid being identified as the owners of a nursing home, which can help avoid liability for abuse or neglect. Often, this is accomplished through establishing various partnerships or even limited liability companies. These are usually interconnected in such a way that tracing them back to the parent company can become nearly impossible.

This lack of responsibility could further fuel abuse against some of society's most fragile members. For example, of the 25 California nursing home chains that operate on a for-profit model, 10 of those were found to be below the state average concerning quality of care for patients. 20 of those also had staffing issues, while 65 percent of one nursing home chain had a significantly high rate of putting patients in restraints. While discovering who may ultimately be liable for nursing home neglect may not always be clear cut, pursuing a claim as the victim or on behalf of one can help seek future protection and compensation for related medical expenses, which can be hugely beneficial for an elderly nursing home resident who may be on a fixed income.

Source: fresnobee.com, "Nursing homes in California exposed", Marjie Lundstrom and Phillip Reese, Nov. 8, 2014

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