Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

The companies that operate nursing homes have come under close scrutiny in recent years due to the high number of injuries and deaths of nursing home residents. Because the nursing home industry has become a multi-billion-dollar business comprised of major corporations, in some facilities profitability has become more important than administering proper care. The New York Times has reported that 90% of all nursing home facilities have been cited for violating federal health and safety standards.

Nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities are responsible for providing quality care to patients and residents. If an injury occurs because of a nursing home’s negligence, or even worse, due to direct abuse, the nursing home is responsible for compensating the patient for his or her injury. Compensation includes reimbursement for pain and suffering, medical bills, and the loss of enjoyment of life. There are also state laws that provide additional protections to nursing home patients.

In any situation where a patient of a nursing home is injured as a result of the nursing home abuse, the patient should seek the advice of an attorney. It is difficult to have a nursing home compensate you fairly for your injuries without the help of an attorney.

Kinds of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home abuse occurs when a nursing home patient is directly harmed by someone in a position of trust. This can take many forms, including:
  • Physical abuse. This includes punching, pushing, grabbing, and so on. Physical abuse also includes threats of violence, being unnecessarily rough when performing caretaker duties on a patient, and improper physical restraints for a patient.
  • Sexual abuse. Any unwanted sexual contact with a nursing home resident is sexual abuse. This includes sexual assault, unwanted sexual advances or harassment, or a situation in which a patient cannot legally consent to sexual activity because of a condition like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • Financial abuse. Financial abuse is when someone takes money or other assets from a nursing home patient without their consent or full understanding. This can include forging a resident’s signature to buy something, identity theft, using their credit cards to pay for things, etc. Financial abuse also includes coercing someone into giving up control of their assets or exploiting them to acquire a deed to their house, car, or other valuable property.
  • Emotional abuse.This can include verbal abuse like shouting or swearing at a resident, threatening them, or bullying them. Emotional abuse also includes isolating a resident from others or limiting their ability to make choices regarding how they live.
While nursing home abuse involves a nursing home resident being victimized physically, emotionally, or physically in some way, neglect is slightly different.

Nursing home neglect occurs when a patient is harmed because of substandard care or a failure to perform crucial caregiving responsibilities. Here are some common forms of nursing home neglect:

  • Medical neglect. Medical neglect is when a nursing home fails to treat or prevent a resident’s medical concerns. This can include medication being withheld or administered at the wrong dosage, poor diabetic care, infections, bedsores, issues with mobility, etc.
  • Basic needs not being met. It’s a nursing home’s responsibility to provide residents with adequate food and water, as well as a safe environment. Failing to do so can constitute neglect.
  • Personal hygiene. Nursing home residents, especially those with degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, often need help with basic hygiene. Basic hygiene includes bathing and going to the bathroom, as well as laundry and sometimes dental care. Failure to adequately care for a resident’s hygiene is considered neglect.
  • Social or emotional neglect. Nursing homes are responsible for the emotional needs of their residents, as well as their physical care. Leaving a resident alone for long periods, verbally mistreating them, and so on are all instances of neglect.
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Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Infections

Infections

Sepsis

Sepsis

Dehydration

Dehydration

Bed sores

Bed sores

Mental or emotional fatigue

Mental or emotional fatigue

Bruising bones or fractures

Bruising bones or fractures

Malnutrition

Malnutrition

Unexplained weight loss

Unexplained weight loss

Poor hygeine

Poor hygeine

Caregivers refusing to leave patient alone with others

Caregivers refusing to leave patient alone with others

Nursing Abuse Statistics

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), as many as five million older adults are abused every year in the United States. It is estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported, however. Studies also show that:

  • It’s estimated that as many as 10 percent of elderly Americans over age 60 have experienced some form of abuse.
  • One study reported that around 24 percent of nursing home residents experienced at least one instance of physical abuse during their stay, while another study reported that only 1 in 14 elder abuse cases is ever reported to the authorities
  • The National Center for Victims of Crime reported that 5 percent to 10 percent of self-reported elder abuse cases are physical, while 60 percent are verbal, and 14 percent are cases of neglect.
  • About 5 percent of elderly people report that they’ve been financially exploited by a family member, according to one estimate.
Nursing Home Abuse

How to Report Abuse or Neglect

Nursing home abuse or neglect can be difficult to see, especially if a resident suffers from dementia or has trouble communicating. Make sure to evaluate a nursing facility thoroughly before placing a family member there as a resident. Ask friends and family for recommendations, make sure to visit the facility and check for signs of neglect (strange odors, how the other residents look, etc.), check state records to see if the facility has ever had any violations, and so on.

If you suspect someone you know is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s crucial to get the authorities involved quickly. In many cases, caregivers have a duty to report suspected elder abuse or neglect. Failing to report abuse may even constitute neglect in and of itself.

The state resources pages of the National Center for Elder Abuse and the Administration on Aging can tell you which agency to contact in your state. We would also highly recommend you speak with an attorney, as they will be more familiar with the different rules and laws regarding elder care in your state. An attorney can tell you whether or not you may be eligible to file a nursing home abuse or neglect claim.

We’re Here to Protect Your Rights

Even if you feel you are not ready to file a suit, consult one of our qualified lawyers as soon as possible so that you will know your options. We do not charge any fees upfront. In fact, we will only charge attorney’s fees if we obtain a financial settlement for you. If you don’t win, we won’t get paid a legal fee. 

Call us today for your free case evaluation at 1-866-970-0568.

We will fight relentlessly to get you the compensation you deserve for your prescription drug injuries.

Nursing home injuries resources links

ADAPT – Community Alternatives to Nursing Homes
This organization fights to empower people with disabilities to live in the community with real supports instead of being placed in nursing homes and other institutions.

Administration on Aging
Contains information on the Older American’s Act, State Ombudsman Programs, and an expansive directory of Web sites on aging.

Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association’s official website. This site is your gateway to a wealth of information on Alzheimer’s disease. Mission is “to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.”

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people 50 and over. It provides information and resources; advocate on legislative, consumer, and legal issues; assist members to serve their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for members.

Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly
Non-profit organization, based in Philadelphia, dedicated to improving the quality of life for vulnerable older people. Mission includes informing policy-makers, education programs targeted at providing information and improving the ability of those who help frail older adults to give quality care.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMC)
The federal agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid. CMMC provides health insurance for over 74 million Americans through Medicare, Medicaid and other programs, and regulates nursing homes and other health care providers.

Coalition to Protect America’s Elders
The Coalition is a nonprofit national advocacy organization founded in 1997. The Coalition works closely with our nation’s most prominent elder organizations and other advocacy groups to create public awareness of the conditions that exist in our nation’s nursing homes and propose effective solutions for improving the quality of nursing home care.

National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform
National advocacy organization based in Washington D.C. formed because of public concern about substandard care in nursing homes. Works closely with State Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs, and operates National Ombudsman Resource Center.

Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home
This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guide contains information to help people find and compare nursing homes.

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