An intellectually disabled Texas man entered a Lubbock community in September following residence in a low-quality Iowa establishment for three decades. Having worked at a turkey processing plant for 41 cents per hour, the man was relocated to a Midland, TX nursing home in 2008.
Unfortunately, many individuals today suffer similar developmental disabilities as this man does. At 71 years old, the man has lived with a combination of disabilities. Depression, blood pressure, and significantly impaired speech, among other disabilities, have impaired him for much of his life. While he can read, write, and conduct an automobile, his disability has persisted throughout much of his life.
Squalor and Exploitation
Until being relocated to Lubbock, the man suffered near-slavery conditions in squalor. Eventually freed by social workers, he suffered a life not unknown to others with disabilities. In Texas, similar plights are experienced by disabled individuals residing in nursing homes. His later lawsuit, as evidence, reveals the realities of routinely “warehoused” individuals across the state and country.
Today, intellectually disabled advocates combat conditions impacting learning and reasoning. As per the Americans with Disabilities Act, among several other federal laws, such advocates claim the state robs nearly 4,000 people from living in the community by denying services. Texas denied its exploitation of the disabled and rebounded with a statement clarifying its commitment to providing disabled individuals with high-quality services.
Filed Lawsuit, Settlement and an Ended Agreement
The man’s claim against the state was not unaccompanied. Other disabled patients, filing in 2010, have supported his case. The case, itself, has slowly crawled through the legal system since 2010. In 2012, a federal Department of Justice decision-maker sided with the disabled. One year later, both involved lawyers and the state concluded on an interim settlement agreement, wherein Texas was required to create a service team per each housed disabled person. Community services, too, were to be expanded.
The interim settlement agreement placed the suit aside for two years. In 2015, however, the agreement was abruptly ended without explanation. Neither legal party has discussed the event’s reasoning, as confidentiality rules persist. Soon after, the lawsuit was reactivated.
Granted Class-Action Status
A San Antonio federal judge, in May, granted class-action status to involve over 4,000 intellectually disabled individuals residing in nursing homes. This man, however, is not asking for compensation. Attorney for the disabled clients, Robert Velevis, settled for federal law compliance, alone.
Cecilia Cavuto, disability department spokeswoman, stated the case serves to ensure the quality of Texas nursing home residents serving those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Aimed at administering high-quality services, the case intends to require Texas care providers to conduct evaluations for each individual entering nursing homes. The evaluation serves to determine needed specialized services while determining the need for community-based setting transition.
A Need for Further Assistance
Currently, lawyers serving the case’s disabled say, Texas excludes the disabled from acquiring any meaningful access to the state’s offering of community-based services needed to promote better community lifestyle. A federal report provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2015 revealed Texas to be in the nation’s bottom third portion for the comprehensiveness of evaluations created for intellectually disabled patients.
Unfortunately, nursing home negligence, unlawful care and exploitation persists. Parents and loved ones entering a nursing home deserve complete care, and any services deemed incapable of providing such care may be deemed as negligent. Today, those entrusted to nursing homes may suffer illness, injuries or even death due to negligence.
Understanding Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home negligence, while not nursing home abuse, is widespread. While cases like the man mentioned above impact a wide array of disabled individuals, overall nursing home negligence may be more common. While exploitation and abuse occurs when a home’s staff member deliberately uses, harms or disenfranchises a patient, nursing home negligence may not be intentional.
Negligence is, however, entirely illegal. Negligence occurs when a nursing home’s staff members fail in meeting the patient’s physical and mental health needs due to low quality care. Failure to provide necessary care, overall, may negatively impact those who rely upon such systems to survive.
Determining Neglect and Obtaining Legal Assistance
Nursing home negligence should be met with immediate legal assistance. In many cases, neglected patients face medical neglect. Medical neglect occurs when a home’s staff members fail in addressing medical concerns. Bedsores, infections, heart problems, and day-to-day health declines fall under this category.
Neglect of basic needs, too, can be targeted by law officials. A nursing home neglects its patients’ needs in not offering a safe, clean environment while offering constant food and water. Personal hygiene, too, must be cared for, along with social and emotional needs. If your loved one has experienced nursing home neglect, contact a legal representative immediately. Additionally, become knowledgeable about the dynamics of nursing home negligence to determine the need for legal assistance.