Six veterans’ groups are calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve the quality of care at its nursing homes following a story by USA TODAY and The Boston Globe detailing “blatant disregard for veteran safety” at a VA nursing home in Massachusetts.
“Anybody who respects veterans should be angered by this,” American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad said. “America’s veterans deserve better.”
The groups, who together represent nearly 5 million members, said veterans who risked their lives for our country shouldn’t have to risk their lives in VA nursing homes.
In Brockton, Massachusetts, investigators found two nurses asleep during their shifts, even though the facility knew it was under scrutiny and inspectors were coming to visit, looking for potential signs of patient neglect. A whistleblower had reported that nurses and aides did not empty the bedside urinals of frail veterans, they failed to provide clean water at night and didn’t check on the veterans regularly. The VA said the napping nurses no longer work at the facility.
The story was the latest in an investigation by USA TODAY and the Globe that revealed care at many VA nursing facilities was worse than at private nursing homes in the agency’s own internal ratings, kept secret from veterans for years.
The stories detailed disturbing examples of substandard care – a veteran with undiagnosed scabies for months, another struggling to eat in Bedford, Massachussetts; and a third sitting for hours in soiled sheets and another writhing in pain without medication in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Read the full story at USA TODAY.