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Nursing home exhibits high number of bedsores, low rating

Pennsylvanians sometimes rely on the services of nursing homes to take care of family members who can no longer take care of themselves or who need special care. Sometimes, though, these family members fall prey to abuse and neglect.

The story of one Manhattan nursing home is an example. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded the facility just one of five stars in the health inspection category, a rating equivalent to "much below average" care. For overall quality, the facility received just two stars.

Among the reasons the facility received low ratings was its unkempt condition and the large number of residents in the 362-bed facility who suffered from bedsores. One former patient is suing the facility for failure to prevent and treat his bedsores.

Last year, excessively hot water in residents' bedroom sinks prompted the facility to pay $6,500 in fines. New York state inspectors found that water temperatures reached 136 degrees, which is hot enough to cause skin blistering after 10 seconds of exposure. Although the issue had been reported as far back as April 2012, it had only been fixed last year after the state inspection.

The facility has also been charged with several violations in the past, including medication errors, failure to report medication errors and failure to cook and store food safely.

Finally, 15 percent of the home's residents exhibit symptoms of depression; the national average is 6.6 percent.

All long-term care facility owners and staff are expected to meet a reasonable standard of care by providing a safe living environment and responsible care. Unfortunately, some facilities fall short of these expectations. In the event that neglect and abuse result in injuries or illnesses, a resident or his or her family can consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Gotham Gazette, "Manhattan nursing home rates low in health care," Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, Feb. 4, 2014

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