CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - There are dozens of nursing homes in western Massachusetts and many of your loved ones live in them, but as 22News I-Team discovered, not all of them are living in a 5 star environment.
Not even close, I-Team found some homes in our area have been caught storing food at the wrong temperature, moldy kitchens, overmedicating, and failure to supervise; just a sample of what the 22News I-Team discovered while going through state inspection reports of nursing facilities in western Massachusetts.
"These types of things are horrendous and you see what's happening to our elderly people," said Alan Goodman, attorney at A Good Law Firm in Springfield.
Springfield Attorney Goodman says he's taken on hundreds of nursing home abuse and neglect cases and says many of them result in death and the family never finds out why. "Unless somebody gets an autopsy, that is something that most people don't want to have done, you don't know the real cause of death. Most of these things are swept under the carpet."
The state's Department of Public Health goes into each facility and conducts these inspections every 9-15 months.
Going through the most recent reports, a worker at a home in East Longmeadow was seen getting ready to prick a resident's finger with medical equipment that hadn't been cleaned from the last resident until a state inspector stopped it, and at a Northampton facility one resident received 19 extra doses of medication.
Deficiencies; the 22News I-Team traveled to Boston to find out what's being done.
"Unfortunately we see a lot of deficiencies in a lot of areas," said Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, director of the Bureau of Healthcare Safety and Quality .
Dr. Biondolillo oversees the surveyors and says overall, elderly are getting good care in Massachusetts, but didn't deny problems exist.
She says they inspect and re-inspect until problems are taken care of. "What we hope is that the facility has done more than just correct on a case by case basis but that they've really done a root cause analysis of what went wrong. There have been incidences when we have to go back in multiple times to ensure a facility has corrected its deficiencies. "
Dr. Madeleine also says deficiencies stay with the facilities for 3 years, so when you see a center is graded with one or 2 stars, it doesn't mean if you walk in there today, things won't be better.
To be safe, Attorney Goodman suggests you not rely on the state, rather do your due diligence.
Read the center's inspection reports like the I-Team did for this investigation, make plans to visit your loved one often, but at different times so the center doesn't plan for your arrival, and maybe most important to avoid legal troubles, read the contract carefully.
Before you even have a loved one admitted into a nursing home you have to pick up and look at the contract because most admission contracts today you sign away your right to a jury trial.
Here are the inspection reports of nursing facilities in our area.