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Behind the Scenes at Veteran’s Nursing Homes

Recent inspections of Veterans Affairs nursing homes revealed inadequate care for residents across 25 states. Following reports from both USA Today and The Boston Globe discussing poor conditions found in many VA nursing homes, subsequent inspections continued to find substandard care in a large number of facilities.

Findings When Inspecting VA Nursing Homes

Inspections conducted in April to December 2018 by a private contractor discovered that out of the 99 Veterans Affairs nursing homes inspected, 52 were responsible for providing care that resulted in “actual harm” to their residents. Three of those facilities housed veterans that were found to be in “immediate jeopardy.” Another eight caused “harm” and “jeopardy” to veteran residents.

Nine months later in 2019, more recent VA nursing home inspections found that many facilities still engaged in improper care for residents.

Bedsores and Other Conditions

One of the biggest issues that the inspections found was that staff at over two dozen Veterans Affairs nursing homes neglected to take the steps needed to prevent the development of new bedsores and heal existing bedsores. Nursing home residents are often at risk of developing bedsores, as they can occur when people are immobile and left in the same position for a long period of time.

Another issue that the inspections revealed was that many VA nursing home facilities failed to mitigate infections among residents. Inspectors found that staff members in two out of every three VA nursing homes that staff failed to practice basic safety guidelines, including wearing sterile protective gloves or clothing while providing treatment to residents.

One veteran in a facility in Des Moines, Iowa, was found to have contracted six urinary tract infections within a period of seven months.

Other conditions found in 50 of those nursing homes included improper monitoring of residents, exposing them to potentially harmful conditions, dangerously high water temperatures when bathing and washing residents, and unsafe temperatures of as high as 128 degrees Fahrenheit intended to kill bacteria.

VA Nursing Homes in Illinois

Unfortunately, Illinois nursing homes for veterans have also received low ratings for care quality. Currently, there are four nursing homes in the state that are licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health with certification from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

All of them, according to the ratings made public, carry one to three-star ratings out of five. Low ratings indicate a risk of potential nursing home neglect and abuse. Before choosing one of these homes for a loved one, it’s important to research the facility and determine if there is a history of abuse and neglect.

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