According to ABC News, a study conducted by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee has found that elderly individuals are being subjected to abuse or neglect in one out of every three nursing homes.
Out of the 9,000 reported instances of abuse within the two-year period reviewed by the study, many were found to have caused harm to residents and 1,601 were determined to have been severe enough to “place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury.”
These are quite sobering and disturbing statistics, particularly for those who have loved ones being cared for in nursing home settings, or who will soon have the need for nursing home services for themselves or family members in the near future. Making the decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home is not one which can be taken lightly. You want to be able to give the attention, care and access to treatment your elderly loved one may require, yet depending on his or her needs, you may not be able to do so. Nursing homes are supposed to be the places where elderly individuals can have access to the services and personalize care they need in the later years of life, not places where their limited capabilities or frail nature are exploited.
Elder Abuse Statistics
A study from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), shows the clear and widespread scope of the growing elder abuse problem here in the United States:
- Between 7.6 and 10 percent of participants experienced abuse in the preceding 12 months
- One out of every 10 nursing home abuse victims failed to report instances of financial abuse
- Only one in 12 cases of nursing home abuse or elder neglect is ever brought to the attention of authorities, so many times loved ones are entirely unaware that a problem even exists
- Even more frightening is, for every reported case, another 24 cases goes unreported.
Fortunately, while many elderly victims may have been hesitant to report instances of abuse in nursing homes or by caregivers, it seems as though this trend may be changing. Now what is needed is a significant reduction in instances of abuse, neglect or mistreatment among nursing home residents, as well as safety measures in place to prevent future occurrences.
Spotting the Signs of Abuse or Neglect in Nursing Homes
Being able to recognize, spot and then report potential signs of abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility is one of the most basic ways for family members to help keep their elderly loved ones safe. Elder abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, financial or as result of neglect. Some of the common signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Unexplained bruises or lacerations
- Sprains, broken bones or head injuries
- Bed sores and infections
- Torn or bloody clothing
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Unwillingness to communication or becoming extremely withdrawn
- Irrational agitation or upset
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Reluctance to speak when certain staff are present
- Unsanitary conditions
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Unexplained loss of money, jewelry or other valuables
- Frequent illness.
If you have a loved one you believe has been subjected to abuse, neglect, mistreatment or medical malpractice in a nursing home or assisted living facility, obtain the services of a skilled Philadelphia attorney at once. Nursing home abuse should not go unpunished. Individuals who commit such heinous acts against the elderly need to be held liable for their actions.