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There are approximately 17,000 nursing homes in the United States caring for over 1.6 million older adults.
Nursing home negligence occurs when a resident is abused or neglected in a nursing home. Reports show that nursing home abuse, including instances of nursing home negligence, increased 20% from 2001-2002. Nursing home negligence can result in nursing home deaths, falls resulting in broken bones, malnutrition, dehydration, decubitus ulcers, and residents wandering off the nursing home premises and injuring themselves. A large number of nursing home negligence is never reported.
Nursing home negligence is responsible for the deaths and serious injuries sustained. Highly attributed to under qualified and under staffed workers, nursing home negligence occurs when nursing home workers fails to fulfill any minimum requirements to fulfill the obligations or duties to a resident. Due to fear, inability to communicate, or illnesses, nursing home residents do not tell anyone that nursing home negligence is occurring.
Nursing home abuse violations most often include physical or sexual abuse and abuse from other patients -- with no staff supervision to prevent this type of behavior. Injuries such as fractured or broken bones, lacerations, and/or cuts and bruises are becoming all too common.
If a nursing home fails to administer care in a professional and compassionate manner, and you or your loved one has suffered from inadequate care, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important to thoroughly understand the warning signs of potential nursing home negligence.
- Reports show that nursing home abuse, including instances of nursing home negligence, increased 20% from 2001-2002.
- There are approximately 17,000 nursing homes in the United States caring for over 1.6 million older adults.
- More than 30 percent of the country's nursing homes have been cited for violations that put residents in harm's way.
Reported injuries include:
The following violations are common examples of the neglect and abuse that may be suffered by nursing home and elder care residents.
- Physical Abuse - Deliberate use of excess physical force upon a resident. May include hitting, pinching, slapping, shoving or kicking. Also includes unwarranted use of restraints and the controlling of a resident through physical attacks.
- Mental / Psychological / Emotional Abuse - Abusive behavior including harassing, threatening, ignoring, or humiliating a resident. Also includes the emotional manipulation, coercion, seclusion or isolation of a resident.
- Sexual Abuse - Any improper or sexually oriented touching of the resident. Includes any coercion to perform sexual acts by staff or other residents.
- Verbal Abuse - Includes threatening, demeaning or insulting spoken or written comments. These comments are violations regardless of the resident's ability to comprehend.
- Malnutrition - Caused by insufficient, missed or non-nutritious meals. Can lead to severe consequences such as infections, weakened immune systems and fragility.
- Broken Bones - Often caused by falls and accidents that occur when residents are not properly supervised. Also caused by intentional abuse.
- Bed Sores - Skin sores caused by a failure to properly turn and move a bed-ridden resident. These are easily preventable by nursing home staff. Unfortunately, they can lead to infection, and are also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers.
- Dehydration - Insufficient amounts of fluids. Dehydration can cause infections and kidney failure, and result in dangerously low blood pressure (a leading cause of stroke and heart attacks).
- Falls - The elderly are particularly vulnerable to suffer serious consequences from falls. Negligent care and improper supervision can lead to situations where falls can occur, such as wandering (a resident walking without supervision) and elopement (a resident leaves a facility without permission).
- Wrongful Death - This is the most devastating consequence of neglect and abuse. Almost all of the above examples can lead to the premature death of a resident.
Facility or Caretaker Responsibilities to be Examined:
- Is the patient correctly positioned in bed, and turned / moved frequently?
- Are room and facility conditions clean and sanitary?
- Are fecal or urine odors present in the room or facility?
- Is the staff responsive to family questions and requests for assistance and changes?
- Is there enough staff present for the resident's unit, and are frequent room visits made?
- Does the staff answer call bells or cries for help in a timely manner?
- Does the staff give proper assistance during meals?
- Does the staff help residents with walking?
- Does the staff give proper encouragement and assistance with lifestyle activities?
- Are financial matters handled properly (the resident is aware of their finances, resident funds are secure or kept in interest-bearing accounts)?
- Is stealing or embezzling of a resident's money or property occurring?
These and other warning signs are often the best way of knowing if neglect and abuse have occurred or will occur. It is up to the resident's family members or visitors to be observant, and to take action if neglect or abuse is present or suspected.
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