The United States has an aging population. This is true in Arkansas the same as it is everywhere else. More and more people are finding it necessary to end their days in nursing homes and assisted care facilities. Nation-wide and state-wide, we are seeing more and more instances of abuse of nursing home residents, and it isn’t really known whether that’s because nursing homes are becoming less safe for residents, or whether it’s simply that as we have more people in nursing homes, more cases come to light.
We could debate cause and effect, but the fact is that the National Center on Elder Abuse has reported that better than 50% of nursing homes in the United States are understaffed, leading to frustration and stress among nursing home workers, and possibly leading to increased cases of elder abuse within nursing homes.
Nursing home abuse is on the rise all across the United States. The National Center on Elder Abuse further estimates that seniors are mistreated in approximately one-third of the nation’s nursing homes.
Elder abuse can take on many faces. It could be physical, mental, emotional, or sexual. It can also include neglect in the form of poor nutrition or inadequate hygiene. Of course we say that no one should ever be abused, but the fact is that it happens.
The role of the nursing home is to protect its residents, and provide them with healthy, clean, attractive surroundings. The home is also obligated to treat each resident the same way, and not discriminate due to race, nationality, religion, level of ability, or social status. This isn’t just rhetoric – it’s actually legally mandated by the Nursing Home Resident’s Bill of Rights, which the home is required to provide anyone who asks for it.
Anyone who enters a nursing home is required to read, understand and sign this Bill of Rights before entering the home. If they are unable to do so, then their primary caregiver is required to do so on their behalf. Among other things, this Bill of Rights entitles the resident to:
This Bill of Rights is in place to protect people in nursing homes, and the courts take it very seriously.
Some signs of abuse are obvious – broken bones and bruises, for example. Others might not be so easily identified. Abused seniors may appear withdrawn, afraid, or uncommunicative. They may also appear thin or dehydrated, or exhibit poor personal hygiene.
If you have seen any of these signs in a loved one who is in a nursing home, it is very important that you act. Contact an elder/nursing home attorney in Arkansas who can help you to protect your loved one. You can expect that your lawyer will offer you a consultation during which you will provide information, and then explain what remedies are available to you both under the federal laws and those of the state of Arkansas. You or your loved one may be entitled to damages as a result of the abuse or neglect incurred in the nursing home.
Nursing home abuse attorneys in the state of Arkansas are well-equipped to handle your case. They know all the ins and outs of federal, state, and local laws that relate to nursing home care. Seniors do not have to suffer in silence when help is available.