Nursing homes guarantee provision of the highest level of care; however, beneath the friendly and warm welcome to arriving residents who are accompanied by family members, what is hidden can be painful experiences wrought by abuses and various forms of acts of neglect.
Also called convalescent homes, nursing homes are facilities for people who require extra care, out-of-hospital medical attention and assistance even in the performance of daily activities, such as eating, toileting, bathing and dressing. To address the various needs of residents, nursing homes should have a registered nurse, a licensed nurse and trained nursing aides who are expected to attain and maintain the highest possible level of physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of all residents and patients.
In February 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had on record about 15,700 registered nursing home facilities in the U.S. These housed an estimated 1.4 million elder citizens, usually 65 years old or above, children and young adults who are physically or mentally incapacitated, or needing rehabilitative therapies due to an illness or an accident, and those who need extra care, like patients with Alzheimer or Parkinson’s disease.
The American Association for Justice says that 90% of nursing homes lack the required number of staff needed to assure provision of sufficient, quality care. Being understaffed is a major reason why abuses and neglect are committed in nursing homes and, with 90% of these facilities not having enough personnel, no wonder why many more residents are getting subjected to neglect and maltreatment under the hands of stressed and overworked aides and nurses.
Some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Bedsores and pressure ulcers
- Injuries from nursing home slip and falls
- Sudden weight loss
- Emotional withdrawal by the elder
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Changes in personal hygiene
- Lack of friendly interaction with nursing home staff or residents
Majority of nursing home neglect goes unreported because of residents’ fears of retaliation from staff. Left unaddressed however, then nursing home neglect carries an increased risk of illness, death, injury, and trauma for elders.
As explained in the website of the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., “Nursing home negligence or elder neglect is failure on the part of personnel to provide a resident proper medical, physical, or emotional attention. This failure can end up in a dangerous situation, especially if the resident has a serious health condition or is not able to care for himself/herself. With 1/3 of all assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the United States having been cited for some type of abuse or mistreatment, it is time that aggressive legal action against abusive or negligent nursing home facilities be pursued to end this epidemic of mistreatment.