Investigation Shows VA Nursing Home Patients Getting Abused

Inspectors with a government contractor found that veterans were harmed at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes in more than two dozen states.

The inspections were conducted at 99 VA facilities around the country and found problems resulting in “actual harm” to patients in 52 of them. In three of the locations, inspectors found issues that put veterans' health and safety in “immediate jeopardy."

The VA said in a statement that patients in its nursing homes can be more difficult to care for than those in private facilities because of their military service.

"Overall, VA’s nursing home system compares closely with private sector nursing homes, though the department on average cares for sicker and more complex patients in its nursing homes than do private facilities,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in the statement.

"Many VA nursing home residents are being treated for conditions such as prostate obstruction, spinal cord injury, mental illness, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, combat injury, terminal illness and other conditions rarely seen in private nursing homes," he added.

The inspections also reportedly found that 26 facilities did not properly prevent or treat bedsores.

A VA spokesman said that the agency's goal in making the inspection reports public is to "drive improvements throughout the system."

More than 40,000 veterans are housed in VA nursing homes.

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