Study: Nursing Home Abuse Common Across U.S.

Despite numerous laws and enhanced oversight in recent years, more families are coming forward with concerns of nursing home abuse than ever before. A new report shows that families may have good reason to worry about placing their loved ones in a nursing home as research indicates that one in three elderly residents at these facilities have been abused.

A congressional report found that in the United States, instances of physical, verbal, and sexual assault are numerous throughout nursing homes in many states. The study was put together by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee.

In total, there are more than 5,000 nursing home facilities throughout the United States. Between January 1999 and January 2001, nearly 9,000 reports of abuse were filed.

The problems with nursing home abuse are especially rampant given the number of baby boomers approaching retirement and old age in the U.S. Other research shows that higher proportions of the elderly will need long-term or nursing home care at some point in their life than past generations, and yet the reports filed over nursing home abuse are also higher than ever.

nursing-homeSome of the most common issues filed in those reports of nursing home abuse include inadequate medical care, dehydration, preventable accidents, improper hygiene and sanitation, and bedsores.

A lot of these problems can be prevented with the right number of staff and adequate training given to employees at the nursing home. Many of those abuse violations caused physical or emotional injury to residents.

In fact, in more than 1,600 of those cases, the violations caused a risk of serious injury or death. Many nursing homes throughout the country are understaffed or find themselves poorly equipped to deal with the unique and intensive medical issues presented by patients.

When staff are responsible for too many patients at a time, neglect and abuse occur much more often. Lack of proper supervision, however, also raises the chances of residents abusing each other. When staff do not prevent instances of abuse between residents, this can lead to further nursing home abuse.

Residents who are unable to speak up for themselves may suffer nursing home abuse for weeks or months before it stops. It’s often family members who notice unexplained physical marks or a change in their loved one’s demeanor when staff members are around.

Given that every year since 1996, the number of nursing homes receiving citations for abuse has increased, it’s more important than ever for family members to be aware of the signs and symptoms. If you notice that your loved one has many different accidents, bedsores, or has a changed psychological demeanor when certain staff are nearby, this may indicate nursing home abuse.

If you think that a loved one has been injured due to nursing home abuse, contact the experienced lawyers at McDonald Worley today for a FREE case review.


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