Steps to Protect Your Loved One from Nursing Home Abuse
A nursing home injury lawyer knows that, for many families of elderly loved ones, the ability for vetting nursing homes is sparse. Although consumers can look up privately owned facilities to try and determine if they are a good fit for their elderly family members, the data available is usually out-of-date and flawed. Furthermore, appearances can be deceiving and residents in nursing homes across the country are systematically being neglected and/or abused, generally because of understaffing and the desire of private businesses to maximize their profit margins.
One historical study reported that over thirty percent of nursing homes in the United States were cited for abuse violations that were potentially harmful to residents during a 10-year period. That equated to almost 9,000 abuse violations. In fact, over 2,500 were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or placed residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury.
The absence of a dedicated independent watchdog group means families are essentially taking a stab in the dark when choosing a facility. If you suspect your loved one is being neglected and/or abused in a nursing home, there are legal steps you can take to ensure your loved one is protected.
Because our elderly and somewhat incapacitated family members are living away from their familiar surroundings, they are basically at the mercy of the nursing homes’ daily routines and whims. Research has shown that there is a correlation between staffing numbers and the quality of care provided in facilities.
Residents are often helpless and vulnerable. It is not uncommon to find facilities where residents are forced to take medication against their will or are continually neglected. The problem is that there is infrequent official reporting and a failure to protect residents, some may say even an ‘enabling’ of abuse at many levels. This chronic vulnerability makes it that much more important that families hold nursing homes accountable.
Types of Abuse and Neglect
It is gut-wrenching to read about the horrific cases of abuse and neglect that occur. Some of the most disturbing types of abuse include the following:
- Physical, sexual, or verbal abuse by nursing home staff members or other residents
- Intentional deprivation of needs
- Forcing the ingestion of medication
It is not uncommon for an avalanche of reports to come flooding out when someone finally reports one case of abuse. This highlights the need for relatives to be vigilant about the care and services offered. Many residents are so afraid to speak up for fear of more harmful consequences. Working with a nursing home injury lawyer will ensure your loved one is never a victim again.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer for Legal Assistance