More than 1.5 million adults live in nursing homes throughout the country. With such a large population of our elderly and dependent loved ones in need of help with their daily living, we hope that only the best care would be provided.
Sadly, this is not always the case. Even though some facilities provide excellent care for their patients, there are far too many whose negligence and abuse cause needless suffering and death. Nursing home residents are often neglected in the basic daily routines of bathing, feeding, toileting or exercise. One of the reasons that neglect continues is that nursing home abuse is a silent crime. Most of the elderly with disabilities are unlikely to complain about the abuse, neglect or victimization. They may be afraid that they’ll lose what little support they receive, or they may fear retaliation from the abusive healthcare provider(s).
Nursing home abuse may include:
- Sexual Assault;
- Sexual Battery;
- Unreasonable physical constraint;
- Prolonged or continual deprivation of water or food; or
- Use of a physical or chemical restraint or psychotropic medication for any purpose not consistent with that authorized by the physician.
Neglect in a nursing home means that there is negligent failure of any person who is in charge of the care or custody of the patient to exercise the degree of care expected of a reasonable person in a similar setting.
Some examples of nursing home neglect include:
- Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter;
- Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs; or
- Failure to protect from health and safety hazards such as bedsores or falls.
Such neglect can lead to serious and even life-threatening injuries for nursing home residents. Problems include weight loss, pressure sores, hospitalization, malnutrition, dehydration and even death.
Abuse may be present when nursing homes meet only the minimum staffing requirements. A home may have a low number of available staff to care for 15-20 residents during an 8-hour shift. On average, that means each resident is getting only one half-hour of care during that time. A high turnover rate among nursing assistants may mean those employees are insufficiently trained and lack experience. These factors can lead to situations where our elderly loved ones do not get the professional care and attention they deserve.
After years of providing inadequate elder care, many nursing homes are now being held accountable. Lawsuits have been filed in Pennsylvania and across the country and grieving families are receiving compensation for pain, suffering and the untimely death of loved ones.