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Nursing home neglect leads to criminal charge against Life Care Centers of America

Carl Saiontz

Life Care Centers of America, was indicted last week on charges of manslaughter, abuse and neglect in connection with the death of a 74 year old resident at their Massachusetts nursing home. While civil lawsuits are often pursued by family members as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect it is rare to see companies facing criminal charges.

>>INFORMATION: Nursing Home Lawsuits

Life Care Centers of American, based out of Tennessee, operates 260 nursing homes in 28 different states. They have approximately 30,000 employees and generate nearly $2 billion in annual revenue. While there have been prior Life Care nursing home lawsuits filed against the company resulting in multi-million dollar verdicts, the criminal charges now pending against the company are the first of their kind in Massachusetts.

In 2004, a 74 year old resident at a Massachusetts Life Care nursing home was found dead at the bottom of a flight of steps. She fell down the steps after taking her wheelchair outside of the nursing home because Life Care Centers of America failed to follow doctor’s orders to put on an electronic ankle bracelet on the resident. The device would have sounded an alarm and locked the door as she approached the exit, preventing the terrible tragedy.

Prosecutors contend that the nursing home death would not have occurred if Life Care Centers had utilized the bracelet they were supposed to. They also face criminal charges for filing a false Medicaid claim in connection with the death.

This is not the first controversy Life Care Centers of America has faced as a result of their poor care and neglect of patients. According to a state survey in Massachusetts, the nursing home operator ranked in the bottom 11% of all facilities in the state. They have also been fined in the past for various deficiencies found during routine state checks.

It is the responsibility of a nursing home operator to ensure that physician’s instructions are followed and that patients are protected against the dangers they may pose to themselves. Doctors, residents and family members place their trust in nursing homes to provide proper care, and tragic consequences often result from such acts of gross irresponsibility.

Earlier this month we posted about a New Mexico nursing home lawsuit verdict against Manor Care, another large facility manager which has been plagued by instances of poor care, abuse and neglect.

The nursing home lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate cases of neglect and abuse in facilities throughout the United States. In many cases, serious and potentially fatal injuries are caused when the nursing homes cut corners and places profits above the safety of the residents. To determine if you, a friend or family member may be entitled to compensation for injuries, request a free claim evaluation.

16 Comments Add Your Comments

  1. Lifecare center of las vegas killed my mom…..they starved her and dehydrated her and insisted she have a feeding tube put in her stomach because they were to lazy to feed her. Her doctor called me and siad he was admitting to the hospital because her foot was black and had gangreen from the nursing home and he was going to let me know if he would ampitate it…he also asked me about the feeding tube and I said absulating NOT..she was eating for me…I had power of her medical…the next day I went to see my mom because I had not heard from her doctor and the nurse said her kidneys were shuting down and he had put a feeding tube in her stomache and he did not ampitate her foot… they did nothing to save her life…she died a excuinationg death for over 10 hours.. she could not talk and she died in my arms……I was devestated and heart broken and furious that the doctor did the feeding tube without my permission…I found out that they could of put a G tube down her nose….anyway her death certificate says sepis…no mention of of the wrong surgery……I think the staue of limitation is a year but I am not for sure.

  2. Lifecare was the entity that murdered the people in Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans,they need to be shut down.

  3. I saw people die with nothing to save them,they Lifecare abandoned the patients after they overdosed them,most of the people were geriatric long term care.I am survivor of Hurricane,this company is a disgrace to healthcare.

  4. jeanette says:

    We now have a Life Care Center facility going up practically in our back yard. We have tried to raise objections, but to no avail. The city issued a “special permit” to allow these 3 story structures in a residential neighborhood. The mayor seem to believe this is going to be a great thing for our town, even raising our property values.
    I believe that someone didn’t do their homework on checking out their reputation in other areas. Isn’t there any way of stopping this before it happens?

  5. Life care center is a place where people care for thier resident as thier own family and ungrateful real family members that dump their ill or demented family member need to shut up. we dedicate our lives to the people we care for when you wont.you complain and talk about what we do wrong but never what is done right. the people that choose to work there do it because we have compassion when others dont including the familys. We are there 24/7/365 not just on hoildays or birthdays.

  6. B. Dutton says:

    Life Care Centers of America staff is brutal, neglectful, and liars. They do what they can to form clicks. These clicks are gangs of employees all with bad working habits and they all stick together and lie for each other while providing the least most neglectful care they can. When good staff comes in, these gangs of staff that have worked for years for this company make it difficult for the new healthy employee, that employee is labeled and lies put against them to creat troubles so they quit and/or life care administrators lie and have their licenses revoked. This company says they are of christian background. that is a lie, in arizona some of the facitlites have white supremacy meetings held in secret. the administrators and charge nurses are all part of the lies. this company is a bad company for American Elderly.

  7. I would like to write in response to the posting by Samone. I am sure that just like most organizations there are a few good employees at LCC. However, I have yet to find one. My grandmother is currently in an LCC and we do not visit her on the holidays or her birthday. We work in shifts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We love our family very much and we are shocked and horrified by the treatment she is receiving at LCC. The staff completely neglects my grandmother, doesn’t follow the doctor’s orders, treats my grandmother like she is some useless creature, and is horrible and rude to my relatives and myself. I find it disgusting that this company is allowed to take care of such a vulnerable population and I firmly believe that the government needs to step in, take action, and shut you people down. When an agency such as LCC is doing more harm than good, people need to step up, step in, and force the agency to step out. LCC makes me sick and I feel sorry for anybody that is forced to live in the conditions of this so called nursing home facility.

  8. LCC is a company that puts PROFIT above everything else..The ruler of the day is CENSUS and they have an admitting policy of 24/7..They operate like a” Motel 6″…. The 2 Charge Nurses on the evening shift have the responsibility of 40 patients on ICF and 30 patients on skilled. On the night shift 1 nurse has it all.. The acuity leval of these paients is high with many needing gastrostomey feedings,IV therapy, wound vac dressing changes,foley cath irrigations along with numerous dressing changes Dementia patients wih difficult behaviors are mixed in with everyone else. LCC staffs at the bare minimum according to state guidelines thus avoiding fines..They are top heavy with RCM,s DNS who never do hands on care..Only when the federal government will make laws that staff nursing homes according to the leval of care the patient needs will anything change. Most of the time charge nurses do not even get a lunch break and we are screamed at if we go into overtime. The CNA,s are the most vaunerable of the workers.Many are single moms wiht little education who do the tedious really hard work for wages below $10.00..The health insurance offered is so high priced that staff can not afford it. Only when we as a society began to really value our disabled,chronicaly ill and elderly and DEMAND better of this industry will things improve. Ask youself this. How fair is it to pay a CNA $10./hr to be exosed to bacteria, feces, urine, hit, kicked, back and shoulder injury from lifting when a computer programer sitting on their tush makes $20.?? This is a corporation where greed wins….

  9. @ Simone – We were at Life Care, my brother and I, every day. As soon as we left (according to a social worker who finally left) they torchered and abused my mother for 8 months until they finally killed her. It took time to figure out what was really going on. Becuase there was always a story they had for broken bones, cuts, and bruises. So don’t tell me that we are ungrateful people dropping off demented parents. We loved our mother and had no reason to believe that anyone in the business of caring for the elderly would consider abusing them. They killed my mother as I tried to locate a bed in another facility. You obviously have no business in the health care business. Sure people drop off their parents, but not all of us. And when we are there daily we are accused of interfering with the care.

  10. I was a nurse at a life care facility In pueblo co. and reported possible abuse. In a confidencial statement I wrote about concerns with med deversion and hostile work enviornment. I was reassured after reporting this aligation which was brought to be by my CNA that I would not lose my job. I was treaten to remove what I wrote in the nurse notes related to CNA’s concerns or I could be fired. I started to cry and told them I am just looking out for the pts. I was again reassured I would not lose my job. However after a 5 day investigation I was fired for not reporting in a timely manner. I feel I was wrongfully fired for doing my job. Lifecares window was open for state and a pt made a phone call re abuse and the feds and state issued multi IJ tags. I am looking to protect my pts. My reputation was reuioned. I just wanted them to do their job right. If they found my statement was not validated then I feel I shouldnt have lost my job. I think it is sad because it makes others afraid to report things. I am a great nurse but alot of the time we are limited and I dont feel that is ok. I Thank the handfull of people that backed me up and made a diffrence for their pts. God will bless you.

  11. MDPryor says:

    I was a nurse at the new life care center in Tennessee, when I had a patient that scratched her arm on her wrist band, I cleaned it and put a bandaide on it just to gurad it. I had worked in gereatic nusrsing for 20 years sometimes as a wound care nurse. I was told after the weekend to do a incident report on it, and to call the Doctor and tell him I put a band aide on this very minew scatch that had clear in 24 hours. So I made out the incident report and called the family. At that time we had a new patient that had come in and I ask the treatment nurse if she or the admission nurse would tell him about the band aide and she said “Yeah we have to get orders from him and I or the admission nurse will let him know, well sorry to say they didn’t do it, the next day they gave me the incident report back and red writing was all over it from the DON she wanted certain thing put in it , which all I could say was the truth, I redone it and then ask one of the Department Heads what do I do with the one she had wrote on ..said stated “safe it to refer to” I put it in a draw on an unoccupied unit only she and one other nurse was the only ones that wittness this. Well I will make along story I was fired over this even though I had mark the patient’s name out. And they also said I bought negitivity to the building, I felt for the first time that my nursing caeer was in danger, they talk about working together as a family that is lol.

  12. I work at a life care center in Co. and as as an employee, I am absolutly appalled at the way they treat their residents and their employees, I don’t know what to do……These people dont know what they are doing. I don’t want to work for such horible people but i have 4 babies to take care of I am looking around for other job opportunities, I have never in my life worked for such horrible people.

  13. i know someone who a life care center . they may not always meet expectations but they are not abusive. i agree they need more help! however the government sets the guidelines for staffing minumums . the government should work at these facilities for the wages they pay
    they dont want to acknowledge how hard it is to give good care when you are stretched so thin . residents must be much sicker now to even qualify to stay . as some require more care staff is pushed to provide care for everyone .

  14. Life Care Centers is a good organization and Forrest Preston is a good man. I worked for them in Colorado and the residents came 1st. Some of the statements on this site are completely off base and you can tell were written by employees that couldn’t make the grade.

  15. mrs nelson says:

    Life care of America in Eugene Oregon just fired there office manager and assist and HR due to fraud and embezzlement. It was noted that the nursing staff are working there while on drugs. I really hope life care goes down. This is the worst company ever.

  16. I am a former employee of Life Care of Scottsdale.I worked there for a year and a half, I never ever saw any abuse or neglect or are you kidding me TORTURE. We had a great staff there, and I worked with people who did care very much. There were times we were short staffed, as every facility is at some point, but, we all worked together for the care of the patient. I can hardly believe what I am reading, I would need to see substantial proof to back up these charges, If such neglect and abuse exist at these facility’s I am so so
    sorry for that, and then Yes, you need to find something else.I hope there is a lot of strong strong proof of these
    alligations. The lifecare I worked for was wonderful!

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