The family of a neglected elder in Orange County has filed a lawsuit against a Laguna Hills nursing home alleging negligence and understaffing by the nursing home owner, The Orange County Register reports. The family of 91-year-old Therese Sperry is suing Villa Valencia Health Care Center owned by Virginia-based Sunrise Senior Living.
There is a history of nursing home negligence and abuse issues at the nursing home in question, having received five health and safety citations over the last 10 years from state health regulators. The same nursing home also recently paid $2 million in damages in connection with the death of another patient. According to the lawsuit filed by Sperry’s family, the woman who had Alzheimer’s, developed pressure ulcers on her feet during her two-week stay at the nursing home, which they say went untreated. As a result, the ulcers spread to her muscles and bones causing great pain and suffering until she died.
Orange County nursing home abuse is a serious problem as it is in the rest of the United States. With the demand for nursing homes significantly increasing, the big corporations that own these nursing homes deliberately underfund and under-staff these facilities to cut down on expenses and raise profits.
A 2003 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that one in five of all nursing homes in the United States are plagued by serious deficiencies that “caused their residents actual harm or placed them in immediate jeopardy.” These deficient nursing homes, the report found, also underreported serious health problems such as pressure sores, broken bones and infections.
Regulators and nursing home advocates agree that the main reason for nursing home abuse and negligence is understaffing. According to this report, quality of care drops dramatically when nursing home residents receive less than three hours of nurse and nurse’s aide time per day, which is the case at about 54 percent of the nation’s nursing homes. Nursing aides in most homes are paid $7 or $8 an hour for back-breaking work. So not only are these nursing homes understaffed, but the staff is also underpaid. According to court documents, the nursing staff turnover at Villa Valencia was 82 percent in 2006, much higher than the state average of 67 percent.
The Orange County personal injury attorneys at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys have handled nursing home abuse and neglect cases for 30 years. Call us, toll free, at 1-866-310-5252 to discuss your case free of charge and obligation.