Victims of nursing home abuse and neglect often cannot speak up for themselves due to physical or mental limitations, as well as fear of retaliation. Nursing homes may have a standard practice of requiring new residents to sign away their legal rights as a prerequisite for admission. These contracts almost always have an arbitration agreement. These contracts outline that all disputes are handled before an arbitrator, rather than being handled by a courtroom judge. These documents are contracts that put plaintiffs at a huge disadvantage.
A government report indicates that 1 out of every 3 nursing homes were cited for over 9,000 instances of abuse in a two year time frame. Here are the most common nursing homes abuses committed:
- Untreated Bedsores
- Inadequate medical care
- Preventable Accidents
- Inadequate hygiene and sanitation
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
In a substantial number of nursing home abuse cases, residents suffered harm that was serious enough to place them in immediate jeopardy of serious injury or death.
In many cases, it’s up to the loved ones of elderly patients to closely monitor nursing home conditions, staffing and the resident’s physical and mental health for signs of a problem.
How to Identify Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing homes must be licensed by the state, with nursing home operators subject to routine inspections. However, many problems are overlooked or unreported until someone is seriously injured or dies as a result.
Neglect can easily occur, such as instances where patients have not been moved in bed, resulting in bedsores that are extremely painful and may result in major infection and even death. Nursing home patients may be severely malnourished and dehydrated due to improperly feeding the elderly patients. Doctors often have strict guidelines for proper feeding of nursing home residents. Additionally, errors in medication administration can result in death, and are a form of negligence.
Common nursing home abuses:
- Assault and battery by nursing home staffers (this includes kicking, slapping, pinching, shaking, pushing, or beating)
- Assault or battery by other patients
- Excessive and unnecessary physical restraint
- Excessive force or threats of force
- Unnecessary or dangerous sedating a patient
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual assault and battery
Nursing home staff may not have been properly trained or did not undergo appropriate background checks.
Nursing home staff are required to report suspected abuse and neglect, but often these staffers do not. Nursing home staff often are more concerned with protecting the facility rather than residents.
If you suspect your loved one may be the target of abuse or neglect, observe the following the conditions:
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Bed sores
- Emotional agitation, becoming withdrawn
- Falls, fractures, or head injuries
- Unsanitary conditions
- Unexplained injuries, including wounds, bruises, or welts
- Unexplained death of a resident
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Unusual changes in resident behavior
- Frequent illness
- Heavy medication
Trouble with For-Profit Nursing Home Facilities
Nursing home abuse or neglect occurs at a higher rate at for-profit facilities, which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stipulates makes up the majority of the nursing home market. A report filed by the inspector general’s office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed 30 percent of the claims billed by for-profit nursing homes were improper compared to 12 percent of non-profit facilities. Improper claims are medical treatments that are either not necessary or not
This is harmful to patients because they are either undergoing treatment that does not benefit them and may actually be harmful, or they are not receiving the care they need and for which the government paid.
At Bellotti Law Group, we are well versed in this area and will aggressively pursue all legal avenues to ensure that a high quality of life is maintained for your elderly loved ones in nursing homes.
Contact Bellotti Law Group, P.C.
The Boston personal injury attorneys at Bellotti Law Group, P.C., have successfully assisted many individuals with nursing home abuse and neglect cases. We know how to fight to ensure that our elders in nursing homes receive the care and compassion they deserve. Call 617-225-2100 to contact us and arrange an initial consultation.