Louisville, KY- Many residents of nursing homes and other skilled nursing facilities are there temporarily; they require acute round care but aren’t at the stage where they need to be in facility to live out the rest of their days. So, they go to nursing home where they can be monitored until they are healthy enough to return home but a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services found that a large fraction of temporary nursing home residents are being harmed during their temporary stay.

The DHHS analyzed the medical records of Medicare beneficiaries between 2008 and 2012 to determine how often temporary residents were harmed in skilled nursing facilities 90 percent of which also serve as nursing homes. According to ProPublica, During a 30 day period there were 21,777 resident injuries and 1,538 deaths resulting from medical errors, a much higher rate than seen in hospitals.

When patient records were analyzed the researchers found that 69 percent of the injuries and deaths were preventable had patients received the care they need.

Errors with a resident’s medication was the primary cause of unnecessary harm accounting for 65 percent of all adverse incidents. Fifty-five percent of injuries involved issues with resident care 52 percent involved infections.

A 2012 case involving a New York women shows neglect even during a temporary stay at a nursing home can have deadly consequences. Aurelia Rios suffered a serious bout of pneumonia and needed to spend an additional six weeks in a nursing home so she could completely recover. While in the upstate facility something happened and the woman died. Her family was told that she died of a heart attack, but a whistleblower came forward, telling authorities that several staff members ignored the warning signal from the Rois’ ventilator, which had become disconnected, for two hours.

Researchers said the avoidable injuries and deaths cost the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over $200 million annually.

Advocates for the long term care industry don’t take issue with the results of the report but said they used a small patient sample and that the low reimbursements these facilities receive from Medicare diminishes the quality of care a patient receives.

Regardless of how much Medicare reimburses a facility for care, that facility has a responsibility to ensure all of their patients are safe from injuries and abuse. If they don’t, a neglected or abused resident or their family should speak with a Louisville nursing home abuse attorney to see if they are eligible for compensation.

Seeing your elderly loved one suffer because of someone else’s neglect or callous behavior is one of the hardest things a family must go through. It’s unfair and it’s not right, money should never trump an elderly person’s health but it does far too often. When you or your loved one has been injured a Kentucky nursing home abuse attorney will work to make certain all their medical needs are covered by a negligent facility.