There are more than one and a half million elderly and disabled residents in over 16,000 nursing homes across America.
The sad reality is that nursing home neglect and abuse is very prevalent, almost to epidemic proportions.
The causes of nursing home neglect and abuse are many, but the most common is probably financial. Many nursing homes, in an effort to make a profit, simply do not provide enough staff, or are grossly understaffed for the number of residents. The poor quality of service in many nursing homes may be due to the incompetence of the staff, the policy of the owners and managers, or both. It is difficult to expose the neglect in nursing homes… often times much more so than in other areas of the health care system. In many cases, the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect are not capable of speaking for themselves due to physical or mental disabilities.
Examples of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Nursing home abuse and neglect may involve mental or psychological abuse, as well as the more obvious forms of physical abuse. While there are too many types of nursing home abuses to list, the following is a sampling of possible scenarios:
- failing to give proper nutrition and hydration
- failure to assist in personal hygiene when needed
- over-medication or under-medication
- failure to take reasonable precautions to prevent slips and falls
- failure to answer call lights and requests for assistance in a timely fashion
- failure to turn residents in their beds causing pressure sores or “bed sores”
- failure to take residents to the toilet, leaving them in dirty clothes or sheets
- slapping or other physical abuse of the resident
- use of unwarranted chemical or physical restraints
- emotional or verbal abuse of the resident
- retaliation for making a complaint or filing a grievance
- failure to take adequate precautions to prevent injury to the resident
- failure to provide for appropriate medical care
- sexual assault or rape of the resident
- theft of the resident’s money or other personal property
Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
For those with loved ones in nursing homes, awareness and involvement are keys to detecting any abuse / neglect problems. Be aware for the following signs and symptoms of nursing home neglect. Any of the following should prompt concern and investigation:
- significant weight loss
- depression or isolation
- unexplained mood changes
- fear or anxiety
- unexplained refusal or inability to communicate
- presence of unjustified chemical or physical restraints
- bedsores (also known as “pressure sores”, “pressure ulcers”, and “decubitus ulcers”)
- skin rash
- urine and/or feces odor
If you suspect a family member may be a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, let an experienced, compassionate attorney help you find out the truth.
Studnicki Law Firm will evaluate your legal rights and remedies for free. Contact Adam Studnicki for a free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer.