The number of nursing home abuse and neglect cases has reached epidemic proportions in the last several years. Unfortunately, these already alarming numbers are expected to rise in the next few decades as the baby boomer generation ages. According to the NCEA (National Center on Elder Abuse), nearly 3 million Americans currently reside in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Many nursing homes are owned by multi-million dollar corporations. It is estimated that half of all nursing home residents have experienced some form of abuse or neglect at the hands of their caregivers. This is beyond unacceptable. If you or someone you love has suffered due to nursing home abuse or neglect, we strongly recommend that you contact the attorneys at Cullan & Cullan as soon as possible to explore your legal remedies.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Providing care to the elderly by nursing homes has become big business. Too often, these corporations care more about big profits than providing care. Some nursing homes cut cost to bolster profits. Unfortunately, these cost-cutting measures can result in the hiring of poorly trained staff or understaffing. Nursing homes are required by federal law to provide adequate staffing in order to receive Medicaid and Medicare funding. Despite this requirement, confidential surveys taken by nursing home employees indicate that a significant percentage of abuse and neglect cases are caused by understaffing or poor staff training.
Common forms of nursing home abuse include:
- Bed Sores – Unnecessary bed sores can be prevent by proper care and movement of the patient. These are known medically as "decubitus ulcers."
- Physical Abuse of the Elderly – Includes any use of corporal punishment or any other rough physical treatment.
- Sexual Abuse of the Elderly – Any inappropriate touching, verbal advances, or other suggestive harassment.
- Misuse of Chemical and Physical Restraints – Inappropriate use of sedatives (chemical), straps, or other physical restraints to subdue a resident.
- Abuse and Neglect from Improperly Trained Workers
- Changes in Behavior (Fearfulness or Withdrawal)
- Failure to Follow Care Plans
- Suspicious Injuries
Possible indicators of nursing home abuse/neglect:
- Amputation – Can be the result of untreated bed sores, diabetes, and other conditions.
- Head Trauma/Brain Injury – Inadequate supervision or lack of assistive devices (walkers, etc.) may lead to falls and head injuries.
- Falls – Often the result of poor supervision, inadequate assistance or assistive devices.
- Medication Errors in Nursing Homes – Negligence often results in overdose, wrong medication, or adverse medication interactions.
- Poor Hygiene – Nursing homes are required to maintain good hygiene for their residents. This is very often the tip of the iceberg – an indication that other neglect is taking place.
- Malnutrition/Dehydration – Federal law requires proper nutrition and hydration levels be maintained.
- Wandering Off – Serious injury or death often results from inadequate supervision of residents.
- Choking – Dehydration, inadequate supervision, and other forms of negligence can result in choking.
- Skin Conditions Associated with Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
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If you live in the Arizona area, and believe you or a loved one may have a nursing home abuse or neglect case, please contact the experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Cullan & Cullan today to arrange your case evaluation.