Why Nursing Home Reform is Critical

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Care Worker Mistreating Senior Woman At Home

New York state nursing homes repeatedly violate legal standards of care and act with practical impunity, says Laurie Kash, who has pursued wide-scale nursing home reform for nearly a decade. Kash’s plight began when her own mother suffered the indescribable horrors of elder neglect and malpractice while at a nursing home facility entrusted with her care. After suffering a preventable fall that caused spinal cord injury, her mother’s complaints and obvious deterioration went unattended and dismissed, until she was eventually confined to a wheelchair – paralyzed — for the last three years of her life.

Kash tells her personal story and quest for more regulatory nursing home oversight in a recent article published in the Times Union. She says that the “catastrophic breakdowns in her [mother’s] care did not happen in a vacuum,” and recounts how the NY State Department of Health stonewalled her queries and complaints despite clear evidence of nursing home neglect.

Lack of oversight from NY Department of Health

In 2013, Kash went so far as to present a “Contrast Study” in which she compared her late mother’s case to one which resulted in the closure of another nursing home by state regulators. After submitting her research to the NY state health commissioner, the Department of Health “took no meaningful action.”

In 2015, Kash went back to the state, this time backed by the support of New Yorkers for Patient and Family Empowerment, the Gray Panthers, and other patient advocacy organizations. The group petitioned for a new analysis of the DOH’s Nursing Home Oversight agency, which was long overdue. The last audit had been performed in 1999. This time, the comptroller consented.

The experiences of Laurie Kash and her mother are far from unique. Over the years, Kash has met dozens of other families impacted by the state’s “systemic dysfunction” and harm done to their most vulnerable loved ones.

And like many other New Yorkers affected by elder abuse, Kash eventually filed a lawsuit against the nursing home charged with her mother’s care. She asks legislators to hold facilities accountable for violations in standards of care and follow up with fines that are consistently levied.

Nursing home reform

Kash’s website entitled “Last Stop” – is a documentary project created after her mother was paralyzed from the chest down from negligent nursing home care. The site functions as a portal for others to share their personal stories, and raise awareness for legal reforms. Kash asks concerned citizens to contact their state legislators and governors to press for much-needed reforms, which may help other seniors from suffering the injustices her own mother did.

In the United States, an estimated 1.5 million people are living in nursing homes or assisted living care facilities. Many of these residents are subjected to poor quality care, neglect, and various forms of physical or emotional abuse.

The law firm of Eisbrouch Marsh offers confidential consultations free of charge to anyone who suspects their loved one is experiencing elder abuse or neglect in New Jersey or New York. To speak with a compassionate NJ nursing home abuse lawyer about your case, please call 201-383-1878.


  1. TimesUnion, Reform at nursing homes key http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Reform-at-nursing-homes-key-6859602.php
  2. LastStopMovie.com, Mission Statement http://laststopmovie.com/about-the-movie/