The Silent Epidemic – Nursing Home Care Abuse

Choosing a nursing home can cause a lot of anxiety and feelings of guilt for families. The decision to place a family member under the care of a nursing home facility is usually made when health and/or mental capabilities have declined and the family is no longer able to sufficiently care for their loved one. All facilities must insure and protect the rights of every resident and provide a clean, healthy, attractive environment. Residents are entitled to treatment regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ability to pay, or source of payment. Every resident has the right to request the name and function of all individuals providing them service and the identification of other health care facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and other institutions that may provide them with services.

You may not be aware that you can review the state surveys of each home that you have an interest in because Medicare and Medicaid facilities are required by law to let you see their survey reports. Signs to look for that may indicate improper care at a nursing home include strong smells of urine and feces, vests and other devices that tie or hold people down in their beds, lack of privacy, lack of dignity, unanswered calls for help, inactivity and loneliness, and lack of help with eating. Every resident has the right to receive medical care, nursing care, rehabilitative and restorative therapies, and personal hygiene in a safe, clean environment. Also, residents have the right to be fully informed of his/her medical condition unless the physician indicates in the medical records that it is not in the best interest of the patient to be told.

Residents have the right to be advised by a physician or appropriate professional staff of alternative courses of care and treatments and their consequences. It is imperative to do your homework when choosing a nursing home facility to avoid any instances of foreseeable abuse, neglect, and death that continue to be reported within nursing home facilities nationwide every day. Every resident has the right to be treated with consideration, respect, and dignity in full recognition of his/her individuality. This includes privacy during medical treatment and care of personal needs. People not involved in the care of the resident should not be present during examinations and treatment without consent from the resident. Every resident should be encouraged and assisted to exercise his/her right to voice grievances and recommend changes in policies and services to facility staff and/or outside representatives of his/her choice without fear of coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.

As this next tragic story with Corine Kennedy – a 92-year-old woman – proves, everything went wrong. In 2004, Corine was sexually molested by one of St John’s Nursing Home’s “Certified Nursing Assistants,” Joseph Piccoli, on four separate occasions at their Jackson Hole Wyoming facility. Reports had been made to the management of St. John’s Nursing Home about these four independent acts of sexual molestation, yet the management of St. John’s Nursing Home denied they had ever received any report of sexual misconduct, and refused to do anything about them.

You will see and hear sworn testimony of some of St John’s employees who reported having seen Piccoli’s sexual misconduct. And then these employees suffered retaliation by certain managers and supervisors. Each one gives detailed and graphic descriptions of personal observations that Piccoli engaged in obvious sexual conduct with Corine Kennedy, and how they had each reported what they had seen to their managers. Yet no investigation was conducted.

Today the Insider Exclusive goes behind the headlines to report how Vance Countryman, the lawyer for the children of Corine Kennedy, confronted the administration of St John’s Nursing Home with its failure to protect their mother from Piccoli, who had repeatedly abused her.

Vance T. Countryman is a highly distinguished attorney and leader in his field. His extensive experience handling groundbreaking lawsuits makes him an advocate with the credentials and success to fight for his clients.

Vance T. Countryman, P.C. addresses a variety of legal issues, providing expert representation to those who have suffered harm. The firm’s expertise includes handling legal disputes involving auto collisions, defective products, job site injuries and wrongful deaths.

You can contact Vance Countryman at 800-598-9636, or