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Should You be Concerned About Nursing Home Abuse?

If your loved one is in a nursing home facility, an article from the Los Angeles Times details why it is appropriate to be concerned or alarmed. According to the article, there have been hundreds of nursing homes with a consistent record of low-quality care that has continued to be kept secret by government authorities. Senior citizens have been placed in a state of jeopardy due to the ongoing relaxed nature of oversight by the industry. As the median age of the U.S. population rises, more people are placing their parents or relatives in senior care facilities. Usually, one placing their loved one in these facilities expects that they will be treated with highest-quality of care. Unfortunately, this is not always the case due to nursing home abuse or neglect. A report of the nearly 400 nursing homes that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited for substandard care, but were not named publicly, can be found here.

The article continues to describe the types of abuse that residents in these facilities have suffered, including going without proper nutrition, being left in filthy conditions, experiencing physical abuse, sexual assault, and even falling victim to premature death. The Executive Director of National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, Lori Smetanka, explains how information not being reported to the public sooner should be concerning. People need a full range of information to make decisions concerning their loved ones care. According to the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, a statement last week outlines how the CMS is prioritizing safety and quality in nursing homes across the country. An appendix to the report above cites several instances of abuse to the nursing home residents that were subsequently endangered in their facilities. Some of these examples include a resident climbing out of her window and being found on train tracks, as well as a report of caretakers failing to give a resident their prescribed medication for 12 days. The article urges people that are looking for a nursing home facility to search for a qualified nursing home by using credible online rankings or listings, to seek advice from doctors or friends, and to schedule visits to nursing homes you are interested in.

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are recurring problems throughout the country. It is important to understand the various facts concerning this epidemic. Approximately 95% of nursing home residents are reported to have experienced neglect in the past year, making it the most common type of elderly abuse in nursing facilities. Common types of nursing home abuse can include physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse. These types of abuse can often happen in plain sight and is often overlooked. The person being accused of the abuse is usually a staff member at the facility which leads to evidence of the abuse being unnoticed by healthcare professionals.

Elder abuse consists of actions that intentionally harms or puts the resident at risk of some type of harm. This is most often carried out by a caregiver that was trusted to look after the patient and provide them with the necessary care. Regrettably, the elder suffering abuse in the nursing home may be reluctant or unable to report their abuse or tell a family member. Many times the fear to speak out stems from the fear of retribution or worsening care if they were to report it. In addition, some elderly patients are unable to communicate what has happened to them, making the situation even more difficult to address. Regardless of the type of abuse, your loved one may have suffered, it is important to contact a legal professional if you suspect that harmful abuse has occurred. Our attorneys at Spiros Law are dedicated to providing all of our clients with the representation they deserve in times like these. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at (815) 929-9292 to discuss your situation today