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Brain injury patients in Massachusetts seeking better care

Brain injuries can be caused by many factors, including car accidents, sports injuries, assaults and more. According to one recent report, there are as many as 244,000 individuals throughout the U.S., including Massachusetts, who have suffered a brain injury requiring them to receive specialized care, such as in a nursing home. Unfortunately, there are many individuals who do not receive the care that they need, with some instances border lining or even crossing into the lines of negligence on the part of the nursing home staff.

Because individuals who have suffered a brain injury require specialized care, it can be challenging for families to find the help that they need. Often, those injured must rely on the government programs like Medicaid or Medicare for insurance and benefits. In many cases, the stipends allowed do not grant enough funding to cover the extensive therapies and services needed. When this happens, nursing homes and facilities can shut down, creating a greater disparity between the need and the provision.

One Middleboro, Massachusetts facility closed recently after being unable to offer the extensive services for the nominal price that Medicaid was providing. Many injured individuals and their families would rather have care provided outside of a nursing home environment, which has spawned initiatives in recent years. In Massachusetts, a 2008 initiative promised to find proper homes and care, outside nursing homes, for 2,000 brain-injured individuals. Unfortunately, since that time, only a few hundred have actually been placed.

Individuals who have suffered a brain injury, as well as their families, may have the desire for better care than what is provided at some nursing homes. While not all nursing homes will fall below the needed level of care, many are simply not equipped to handle the needs of someone recovering from a brain injury. For the families who believe that their loved one is being neglected, Massachusetts has personal injury laws in place which may provide some relief. By filing a personal injury claim, the individual or his or her family, may be able to claim damages for any documented negligence. In addition, such a claim could be the catalyst for finding the best opportunities to secure a brighter future for the individual needing care.

Source: businessweek.com, "Brain-Injured in Nursing Homes Without Care Giffords Had," David Armstrong, Dec. 28, 2012

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