A KVUE Defenders investigation uncovered cases of nursing home neglect on the rise across Texas. The investigation also discovered that facilities repeatedly cited for violations rarely see their contracts terminated with the state, despite getting millions in taxpayer dollars.
One of those abused included 97-year-old Minnie Graham. Her granddaughter Shirley Ballard considered her a saint.
“She would do anything for anybody. She would give you the shirt off her back,” Ballard said.
When Graham’s dementia took its toll a few years ago, her family put her in a Dallas-area nursing home.
After noticing bruises on her hands and face, they put a clock in her room equipped with a hidden camera.
A few days later, they reviewed the video in horror. They saw two nursing home aids slapping her on separate occasions. Video also showed a male aid shoving her head in the bed and then later flips Graham the middle finger.
Ballard said it was difficult to watch.
“It was hurtful that they would do that to her, because they don’t know her like I know her,” Ballard said.
Both aids were fired and charged with elderly abuse. Graham died about a month after the video was recorded.
According to the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), deficiencies involving Texas nursing homes jumped from 14,215 in 2011 to 15,113 in 2012. The most severe violations, which put patients in immediate danger, increased by 35 percent.
“This is crisis mode right now for Texas,” said Brian Lee, executive director for Families for Better Care.
Earlier this year, the nonprofit released what it says is the first comprehensive state-by-state review of nursing home care.
It calculated its grades using data from Medicaid. The analysis involved staffing numbers, inspections, deficiencies and complaints.
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Nursing home abuse and neglect on the rise in Texas