As people age, they become physically frail and are not as sharp as they once were. The elderly are sometimes put into nursing homes so they can get the help that they need. With almost 16,000 nursing homes in America, 11,000 of those being for-profit, there are many to choose from. Therefore, choosing the right one can be difficult when abuse is reported in 1 in every 3 nursing homes.
Abuse in any form is never acceptable. Elderly abuse is the abuse towards an elderly person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust. Approximately 1 in every 10 elderly Americans experiences some form of elderly abuse. There are about 1.6 million Americans who reside in nursing homes with an average life expectancy of 6 months upon arrival. It is expected that the individual will be taken care of, but sadly enough, that’s not always the case. The patients of these facilities are often physically and emotionally abused. They are left in soiled diapers and sheets and not bathed for days at a time. They are subjected to physical abuse that can fracture or break bones and, in some cases, even death.
The first thing that comes to mind for anybody that has a loved one in this situation is, “What can I do!?” Action must be taken, and rightfully so. If there is a minor issue or suspicion that something has is going on, report it immediately. The nursing home facility may not even be aware of an issue, but that does not mean that it goes unreported. Employee training for a lot of these facilities are often times done at a bare minimum. So in any case, the facility is still responsible. There is a plethora of law firms that specialize in nursing home abuse. Nursing homes are obligated to follow the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987. This act was put into place so that the elderly resident can “attain and maintain their highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.” Many times the owners of these facilities use different names making this difficult to find out who is ultimately responsible. The attorneys of these law firms understand the way they operate and can find the people behind all the madness. This way, families can receive compensation for the suffering and injuries, but most of all they will receive justice.
In one report, the family of a 96-year-old woman won the case against Quail Creek Nursing Home and was awarded $1.2 million. The victim’s three daughters suspected that their mother‘s caregivers were stealing from her, so they installed hidden cameras in her room. The footage showed that their mother was being abused and manhandled. The footage also revealed that they forced her to lie down while they pushed her head down, preventing her from breathing as well as shoving latex gloves into the victim’s mouth. No amount of money can justify the actions of those two criminals, but it will help bring relief to them for their suffering.
If you or a loved one are being abused in a nursing home, get help immediately. No one deserves to be treated this way and the criminals behind these actions should be brought to justice. Nursing home abuse is a growing issue and we all need to work together to bring an end to this. Do the right thing and report it.
Reporting numbers can be found at: http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Stop_Abuse/Get_Help/State/index.aspx
If you or one of your loved one was injured in a nursing home, you should contact a lawyer right away. Whether the injury was intentional or caused by negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the injury and its effects you may be able to get compensation for medical treatments, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If your loved one died because of the care he or she received in a nursing home, you may also be able to sue for wrongful death. Most states have laws regarding the statute of limitations for these types of suits, so it is best that you consult a lawyer immediately.
Once you know that abuse is occurring or strongly suspect abuse, the first thing you should do is remove the patient from the dangerous environment. After you have done that, you should immediately report the abuse to the authorities.
Every state has toll free hotlines where you can report elder abuse. You will also want to contact the local Adult Protective Services. When you report the abuse, you will not need hard evidence, but you will need to provide as much detail as you can and explain exactly why you have your suspicions. If Adult Protective Services believes that abuse is possible, they will begin an investigation.
Whenever you report elder abuse, it is up to the potentially abused person to accept services from the protective agencies. In some cases, the patient will refuse to cooperate with government investigators, and strong evidence of abuse may not be found.
Nursing home costs can vary depending on the nursing home and the type of care. In general, the cost for a full year in a nursing home is as high as $50,000. In certain cases Medicare, Medicaid, and other government resources can help pay a portion of the bill. It is also a good idea to have high quality long term health insurance. Depending on your plan, some of the costs may be covered by the insurance.
Once you believe abuse has occurred, or once an injury or death has occurred, you should meet with a lawyer and discuss the situation. It is very important that you speak with a lawyer who is experienced in nursing home abuse cases. This is a complex area of law that combines elder abuse, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. Only an attorney who has deep understanding of these issues will be able to help you get the compensation and protection you deserve.
Talking with an attorney will help determine if you should file a suit against the nursing home. Even if the injury was accidental, if it is due to negligence of a staff member or understaffing, the nursing home could be found negligent and liable. Some injuries such as bedsores are usually a symptom of neglect, and you might be able to get compensation for medical treatment from the nursing home where the injury occurred.
Every state has different laws that set forth different requirements and guidelines for nursing homes. There are also federal laws that govern the type of care nursing homes must provide. If you or a loved one has been in a nursing home that has been operating in violation of federal and state laws, you should remove the patient from the facility and contact government authorities. You should visit our pages that describe the different state laws and the ongoing nursing home litigation within the states.