Healthcare News & Insights

Latest horror in nursing homes raises questions about regulation

Two nursing homes are under investigation after some residents were found in horrific conditions.

Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is investigating two nursing homes after two female patients were found in deplorable states of neglect. And it’s raising more questions about the care nursing home patients receive — and the kind of oversight these facilities are given.

The incidents came to light as part of a survey of nursing homes in the state by the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service (MPAS). (Warning: Some Some details below may be hard to stomach.)

The most disturbing finding of the survey: At least two patients were discovered by staff to have active maggot infestations.

In one case, a patient had been refusing showers due to pain and wasn’t receiving regular bed baths. Eventually a staffer found maggots in and around her catheter. Corporate staff directed a nurse at the facility to document it in the patient’s medical records as “debridement” of dead tissue. The woman didn’t get a shower until several hours later, and was sent to a local hospital where she was also treated for a previously undiagnosed hip fracture.

In the second case, a woman was experiencing severe coughing far worse than usual for her condition, but staff didn’t check on her for awhile because they were busy with other patients. Eventually, the coughing became so severe that EMTs were called. The EMTs found an active maggot infestation in the woman’s throat.

The agencies say the conditions were, unsurprisingly, the result of serious neglect and abuse.

The two nursing homes involved were not named due to medical privacy laws. A policy that’s most likely baffling to anyone who has a loved one in a nursing home in the state. Both facilities have been cited for multiple violations each; one of them was also fined. Both facilities have submitted correction plans as required by the law.

The executive director of MPAS cited not only staffers’ neglect in allowing the women’s conditions to degrade to such a point, but noted that multiple levels of regulation and patient safeguards had failed as well.

What needs to change to ensure cases like this stop happening? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. The problem is healthcare facilities such as nursing homes are over filled and understaffed to detrimental levels. The truth is, healthcare facilities are over utilized. To explain, the elderly are now being pushed into nursing homes when traditionally they have been cared for by family members- those who are ultimately responsible for care of their loved ones. The reluctance of family members to take care of their loved ones is placing a strain to such a degree that these things are and will happen unfortunately. I’m not saying my loved ones would never be in a nursing home but I am saying that society has moved in this direction and that we as a society may need to rethink our stance on shoving our loved ones into nursing homes.