What’s Next for These Texas Nursing Home Patients?
Citing “burdensome debt levels and expensive leases,” Senior Care Centers (SCC), which serves almost 10,000 residents and employs at least as many workers at more than 100 locations in Texas and Louisiana, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early December 2018. The company – the largest skilled-nursing provider in Texas – has struggled to pay its rent on at least half of its locations for several months. SCC also received a slew of bad press last year after not evacuating residents in advance of Hurricane Harvey, which resulted in state citations and dozens of care violations.
And though the company’s objective is to reorganize, it is conceivable that it may have to sell or close some of its centers, although SCC says it doesn’t presently envision such a move.
All this comes as unwelcome news to the Texas company’s patients and their families in a state which consistently falls at or near the bottom of the quality scale. SCC has at least 10 facilities in the Houston metro. In the past, there have been allegations of improper or substandard resident care at its local centers. Considering the company’s current state, during the coming months there could be a noticeable drop in the company’s quality of care. It’s not a given — but you should be vigilant in your observations.
So what should you do to protect your loved one who is a resident of an SCC nursing facility, or any other one, for that matter?
You should be diligent in beginning your own investigation if your nursing home relative has:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Is being over-medicated or is not having a medical condition managed effectively
- Lost possessions
- Abruptly changed legal documents such as a will or financial papers.
Other warning flags may involve the abusers themselves; for example:
- Not keeping you informed of your relative’s status
- An inability to satisfactorily explain marks or bruises on your relative
- Refusal (or delays) in allowing you (or their visiting friends) to see your relative
- Not allowing you or their friends to be alone with your relative.
To file a complaint in Texas, first contact the State Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) at (800) 458-9858. You can also quietly gather evidence, such as pictures of any injuries, create a list of witnesses, and contact a seasoned nursing home attorney, such as one with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, to help you file your complaint with DADS.
What You Should Look for When Choosing a Nursing Home for Your Relative
US News & World report, along with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), recently updated the Elder Care website. This portal includes lots of good information, including caregiver facility ratings. Start by looking at the staff-to-patient ratio. If there are too few staff members caring for patients, the risk of your loved one suffering abuse or neglect rises. When visiting prospective centers, carefully observe resident living conditions, the overall appearance of the facility (such as cleanliness), and overall resident behavior. Use the US News/AARP portal to do your online homework to find the best place for your relative.
If you suspect your relative is the victim of any sort of abuse at an SCC property, or at any nursing home in Texas, Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law is available anytime through the phone number or the contact form on this website. Our experienced team can investigate your concerns and bring the negligent care facility, and those who operate it, to justice.