Most people think of nursing homes as places for the elderly who can no longer care for themselves to live. However, most nursing homes also house a variety of other patients, including those recovering from surgery, illness, and the mentally ill. These differences can cause friction and deficiencies in the care of the patients.
A South Pasadena nursing home called South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital has a mix of patients. They regularly have police visits investigating drug dealing and to break up fights between residents. Police are also regularly called to investigate thefts by residents.
One of the residents, David Thompson, recalls how the nursing home had many younger patients with no apparent disabilities. He tells of one patient who packed a gun in his wheelchair, a story backed up by state documents. In another story backed by state inspection records, a patient smoked meth in the bathroom.
At one time, many of the patients in California’s 1,250 nursing homes were the frail and the elderly. Now, there is a growing population of younger patients, many diagnosed with mental illness. These facilities have been able to tap into these patient’s MediCal and Medicare benefits to provide long-term housing at government expense.
Between 1994 and 2014, the number of patients under age 65 in California nursing homes grew by 40%. Meanwhile, the population of patients 65 and older decreased by 11%. One fifth of all nursing home patients in California are under 65.
The quality of care is suffering as a result of this shift in trends. An analysis of California nursing homes with a higher percentage of younger patients shows that these facilities tend to have more deficiencies. They also have lower patient-staffing ratios than those with a higher older population. Staffers at such facilities also report feeling ill-equipped to handle the change patient dynamics. Many have little to no training in dealing with patients diagnosed with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital came under public scrutiny in 2014 when a patient who required, but did not receive, treatment for drug addiction, alcohol addiction, psychotherapy, and behavior monitoring. The patient, Courtney Cargill, walked out of the facility in November 2014, bought a gallon of gas, doused herself and then lit herself on fire. Her family is currently suing the facility.
If you believe that you or someone you love has been the victim of abuse or neglect while residing in a nursing facility, contact the law offices of John Foy & Associates. Our “Strong Arm” attorneys will get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today.