As more data is revealed from the secret files of the VA, it is apparent that the agency’s nursing homes are generally substandard. Two-thirds of the residents have more dangerous bedsores and suffer more pain than those in private nursing homes, according to records obtained by USA TODAY and The Boston Globe. The 46,000 veterans in the 133 VA nursing homes also tend to suffer from neglect, infection, decline in basic living skills, and medication mismanagement—including over-use of anti-psychotics—at an alarming rate.
The news organizations, which reported that 60 VA nursing homes received the agency’s lowest internal ranking, are now releasing granular data on each of the facilities, about which the VA has been compiling information since 2004 without ever making it public so that veterans and their families could make informed choices about admission to any given nursing home.
As a result of the revelations, a bill has been introduced in Congress to compel the VA to release all of its nursing-home data annually. The Acting VA Secretary, Peter O’Rourke, has publicly referred to the revelations as “fake news.”
As a clinical social worker, have you worked in nursing homes, and especially with veterans in VA nursing homes? What has been your experience of the quality of care, and of the extent to which families were made aware of problems?