For most families, the decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home is a wrenching one. People want to do right by their parents, grandparents, or disabled family members, but keeping them at home isn’t always the best solution. This is especially true when the person needs around-the-clock care or has complex medical needs. When families finally decide on nursing home care, they do so with the understanding that is where the loved one will receive the best care. It is a devastating betrayal of trust when the nursing home staff neglects or abuses that person instead.
Every human being deserves respect, no matter what their age or limitations. The federal government states in its nursing home regulations that every person who lives in a care facility has the right to an environment free from mental, verbal, sexual, and physical abuse. Further, the regulations state that nursing home staff are not to use involuntary seclusion or corporal punishment.
The federal definition of nursing home abuse includes:
The following actions constitute neglect according to federal guidelines:
The above actions don’t have to be intentional for the nursing home or its individual employees to be guilty of neglect.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 1.4 million Americans lived in a nursing home in 2014. It listed 15,600 licensed nursing homes for the same reporting period, with approximately two-thirds of them operating as a for-profit business. Abuse and neglect of the elderly is a national concern due to the sheer number of people living in them. The following are some of the most common types of abuse reported by families of nursing home residents:
No one is going to come right out and admit they are abusing nursing home residents in their care. Additionally, you can’t always depend on the person experiencing abuse to tell you about it due to feeling fearful or humiliated. Many people living in nursing homes have cognitive losses that affect their ability to communicate effectively or at all. It’s up to you as a loving family member to look for possible signs of abuse or neglect. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
While only staff members can be guilty of neglect, the same is not true of abuse. One resident could physically or sexually assault or intimidate another or make that person feel anxious due to hostile behavior. However, the responsibility for addressing the situation still lies with nursing home staff.
If you have reported your concerns to the nursing home administration or local law enforcement and don’t feel satisfied with the response, you may wish to consider legal action. Wilson, Frame & Metheney represents nursing home residents and their families in personal injury lawsuits. You may be eligible for compensation to cover the increased cost of care, mental anguish, and more. Please request a free initial consultation to discover if this is the right path for your family.
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