Nursing Home Abuse

Feb 22

In February of 2014, the U.S. News & World Report released its latest list of what it evaluated to be the best nursing homes all across America. About 16,000 nursing homes from all 50 states and about 100 major metropolitan areas were evaluated to help the millions of American families find the best nursing home (nearest them) for their loved one.

In evaluating almost all of the nursing facilities in the US, the following factors were considered: level and quality of safety and care; staffing; health inspections; performance in vital clinical needs; the time spent by nursing staff with the residents; and, cases of health and fire violations. According to the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, however, despite their obligation to providing quality care, many nursing home facilities fail to do this, causing many residents serious harm.

The list of the best nursing homes, the sixth list released by the U.S. News & World Report, comes in the midst of widespread news regarding the frequency of nursing home abuses and neglect. These terrible and offensive acts committed against many of the residents of nursing homes (elders, physically or mentally incapacitated individuals and those needing rehabilitative therapy due to illness or accident) are most frequent where there is inadequate number of staff and where resources are not enough. An alarming circumstance as records from the American Association for Justice show that about 90% of nursing facilities in the US do not have enough staff to provide sufficient care to more than 1.5 million residents nationwide.

The different forms of abuses most commonly suffered by nursing home residents include physical, emotional, physical, sexual and, in some instances, financial. Sexual abuse is the most cruel and humiliating form of these abuses, which are committed by the staff members themselves or by victim’s the co-resident, who is either coerced or bribed by the same staff members.

Residents often rather refuse to complain due to various reasons, including: threats by the abuser; fear of being accused of seeking too much attention; shame, especially if the abuse is sexual in nature; or fear and shame of being tagged as suffering from dementia.

Even with the absence of clear signs that acts of abuse or neglect are being committed against your loved one, sudden changes in him/her plus your gut feeling that something may be wrong should never be outrightly dismissed. And, to either authenticate or disprove the possibility of abuse, no matter how slight the signs, seeking the help of the highly-skilled personal injury or nursing home malpractice lawyers would be a commendable move.

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Signs to Look for in Nursing Homes

Oct 25

In any institution you walk into, you look at certain things to indicate the level of professionalism. In a restaurant, you note if the napkins are stained or dirty; in a hotel you check the carpet to see if it is cleaned regularly; in a preschool you check out the ratio of adults to children. In a nursing home, you need to be just as vigilant as this is for long-term care. Here are a few things that should send up red flags in your head when assessing a facility.

The staff appears aloof. In a nursing home, it is important that the staff is on good terms with the residents because this signals a level of personal commitment needed for long-term care. If a staff member doesn’t even call the residents by name, or use a condescending tone or language when addressing them this could mean imminent neglect or even abuse down the road.

Residents look cranky. This could merely be a sign of some mental illness, but in many cases residents are just old or unable to care for themselves physically, and should be able to interact socially. If the facility unreasonably restricts residents, such as preventing them from hanging pictures or adding any personal touches to their rooms, it is more likely to manifest as bad temper.

There is an unusual number of new staff. It is easy to spot someone who is new to a place; they don’t know where anything goes or seem a little confused when navigating the facility. This could mean high staff turnover, and that’s not a good sign. According to the website of Wisconsin law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® poorly trained staff is a common cause of neglect.

The facility where you see these signs in most cases has been cited for several violations if you do a search. Even if it hasn’t, you should give a facility a miss if you don’t feel comfortable about leaving a family member there. It does happen, though, that there aren’t a lot of options available, so the best you can do is be vigilant for any sign of abuse, neglect, or other types of maltreatment.

If you suspect that a nursing home has breached its duty to a family member, it is your duty to report it to the proper authorities. You may also be eligible to sue the facility for nursing home abuse. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in your area to find out if you are.

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