Brain-Injured in Nursing Homes Without the Care Giffords Had

Larry Boswell sat slumped in a wheelchair. His sweatpants were soiled, his T-shirt soaked in saliva. Flies buzzed around his head.
He was able to walk when he arrived at Illinois’Cobden Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in 2008, government records show, something he can’t manage now. Speech therapy for the 57- year-old ended shortly after he was admitted, according to a lawyer trying to persuade Medicaid to transfer him.

While much of what Boswell says is incomprehensible, he managed a clear “no” when asked if he wanted to stay where he was. Cobden officials didn’t respond to telephone calls.

Boswell is one of nearly 244,000 brain-injured people consigned to nursing homes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from U.S. Medicare and Medicaid statistics. He’s also on the front line in a national battle to get people like him out of facilities that aren’t equipped to care for them.

“People used to be put away in state hospitals and state developmental centers,” said Steven Schwartz,  a lawyer who filed a class-action lawsuit to force Massachusetts to provide alternatives to nursing homes for the brain-injured, and won a settlement that’s still being implemented. “Now people with brain injuries are warehoused and put away in nursing homes.”

Over 4 million brain-injured Americans — including victims of car accidents, assaults, strokes and falls — suffer from long-term disabilities that require specialized therapies. They are sometimes neglected in institutions designed for geriatric care, not for the treatment they need. In some cases, they’re in facilities with low scores from a U.S. agency that grades nursing homes on quality, cleanliness and other measures.

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Brain-Injured in Nursing Homes Without the Care Giffords Had

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5 Responses to “Brain-Injured in Nursing Homes Without the Care Giffords Had”

  1. Sally Says:

    It reminds me of the Gary Harvey case. What opportunities did Gary Harvey miss while he's been warehoused by his guardian for all these years? And yet, think of the opportunities he will have when Bobby Schindler becomes his guardian!

  2. family of WWII Veteran Says:

    Illinois US Senator Mark Kirk encourages stroke victims and their families to never ever give up. I sincerely appreciate Kirk's support of other victims and their families. I am grateful that he continues to recover while returning to Washington DC one year after suffering a very serious CVA.Gifford's recovery is impressive and it took a lot of work and pain with rehab in her daily life knowing she will not get back to her former self but she will be as good as she can be and for that I am thankful.However one only has to read one paragraph of Mr. Armstrongs articles to know life is not FAIR.In addition, some hospitals have a bag of dirty tricks to assist insurance companies to save money by not approving needed therapy, assisting those who profit to get rid of the person, the hospital patient, in need of rehab – so beware and be aware what it takes to get the rehab that is needed to try to regain some of what was lost due to stroke or some other event that damages the brain.

  3. StandUp Says:

    Yes, Sally, it does. And I am glad Gary Harvey has a champion now. Think of all the others just lying there day after day. Thank you, Bloomberg News, for reminding us. And thank you for posting, NASGA!

  4. Finny Says:

    Very sad but true.I am glad Giffords got what she got And I wish everyone had the same chance.

  5. Dianna Says:

    Senator Mark Kirk is an inspiration for all of those who have been injured by TBI. Yes, he had the best care but he himself never gave up. The best care doesn't work without determination and drive.And yes, all victims of TBI should have the same opportunities. I also believe this will be the case for Gary Harvey when his gurdian angel, Bobby Schindler, becomes his guardian.

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