Newark, NJ citizen and nursing home assistant Monique Beaucejourwas recently charged for the manslaughter of 85-year old Fannie McClain, who perished while under Beaucejour’s care at Waterview Nursing Home in Cedar Grove, NJ.
According to officials, Beaucejour was aware of McClain’s fall and consequent head injury on August 13, 2019. However, despite McClain’s declining medical condition, Beaucejour neglected to find assistance, and instead blamed the fall on another patient who was suffering from dementia. In fact, she left McClain alone and re-entered the room nearly thirty minutes after the fall, while pretending that it was her first time seeing McClain in the deteriorated state. As a result, McClain suffered three deep wounds on her head, a broken neck, and a brain bleed. For this reason, Beaucejour is currently being charged with reckless manslaughter, obstruction, and neglect of the elderly.
The Waterview Center has responded to this incident claiming that, “We are very concerned about this incident as the safety and well-being of our residents is our highest priority…”. Despite this statement, this incident shines a light on the rising amount of nursing home abuse cases in both New Jersey and the United States.
According to data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)there are more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States. Out of this figure, roughly 70% are for-profit institutions. These centers house over 1.7 million licensed beds, and host nearly the same amount of patients. Comparatively, New Jersey has a higher standard for nursing homes in relation to many other states. For example, only 29% of nursing homes in New Jersey are for-profit institutions. The remaining centers are either nonprofit organizations or are government owned entities.
Unfortunately, many for-profit centers take cost-cutting measures that can harm the patient experience. This can include hiring less experienced staff that will accept lower wages, or even neglecting to adequately staff the facility to a capacity that would allow for optimal patient care. Since many patients pay upwards of $80,000/year for nursing home care, they expect a higher standard of care, and certainly one that is safe and will accommodate their medical and physical needs.
The Department of Health in the United States holds nursing homes to a high standard, outlined in the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. This provided many protections to patients and their families, including the ability to monitor and update the patient’s Care Plan. Nursing home facilities must be in compliance with these federal regulations in order to receive tax dollars from Medicare and Medicaid to fund operations.
As the case of Fannie McClain indicates, these regulations are often not enough, and the care of residents is often a direct result of the caretaker they are assigned to.
At Aretsky Law Group, P.C., we understand that it can be frustrating to experience less than ideal care at a nursing home facility. If you or loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, contact the Aretsky Law Group P.C. in order to protect your family’s rights and ensure that you are properly compensated for any violations of patient rights that may have occurred at a nursing home.