According to the Institute on Aging, more than 40 million people living in the United States are aged 65 and older. It is expected that this age group will represent more than 20% of the U.S. population by 2050.
In 2012, nearly 1.5 million Americans were living in nursing homes in more than 15,000 facilities. This number is likely to increase, especially as the “baby boomer” generation becomes unable to live independently.
There are many factors to consider when placing your loved one in a nursing home. Overall health and wellness, cost, location, and personal safety and security are essential considerations to make when evaluating different facilities.
Choosing a nursing home that gives your loved one sufficient and appropriate personal and medical attention is necessary not only to make the transition easier, but also in order to protect them against nursing home abuse, injury, or illness.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
It is believed that as many as 5 million elders are abused each year in the U.S., and more than half of nursing home staff have admitted to some level of abuse in a confidential setting. Many believe this is due to the “for-profit” nature of nursing homes, which encompasses almost 70% of the facilities in the country. These homes often place more emphasis on saving money by hiring fewer staff than is needed for the nursing home, hiring under-qualified staff, failing to train staff, cutting safety corners, and putting fewer safety regulations in place. This neglect can also lead to a high percentage of abuse between residents.
While these numbers might seem shocking, it is also most likely an underrepresented value. Many elderly adults are unable or unwilling to come forward and report their abuse for fear of retribution.
A number of news outlets have begun shedding light on nursing home abuse in recent years. Three Georgia nursing home aids were fired and arrested after posting videos on social media, mocking a dying woman lying on the bed between them. Several Georgia lawmakers and top public health officials met as recently as June to discuss nursing home violations and the current regulations in place following a horrific news report.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
There are many different types of abuse your loved ones can face while in a nursing home. These are some of the most common categories:
Neglect: when nursing home workers fail to administer proper care. Many for-profit facilities hire staff with a lack of experience and professionalism in order to cut costs and save money. This neglect can often negatively impact how your loved one is cared for in the following preventable ways:
Malnutrition and dehydration
Lack of personal hygiene
Diseases or infections
Environmental hazards like slippery floors and improper lighting
Incorrect distribution of medication
Abuse: there are many facets of abuse that nursing home residents can face. Each of them are serious and should be promptly addressed. Below are some of the most common forms.
Physical: nursing home staff often become frustrated or short-tempered and can take those frustrations out on residents, especially when the nursing home is short-staffed. Physical abuse can encompass anything from grabbing a resident too aggressively, to pushing them around or in some instances even tying them to chairs or beds.
Mental: many residents in nursing homes are intimidated, spoken down to or controlled by aids and workers. This can oftentimes be even more damaging than physical abuse and can have lasting impacts. Strong indications of this can be any loved one who becomes emotionally withdrawn or depressed.
Financial: be on the lookout for a loved one who wants to suddenly change their will or power of attorney, or starts developing spending habits contrary to their personality. Many residents can be manipulated by workers interested in financial gain.
Sexual: a horrifying reality is that many nursing home residents are subjected to sexual abuse, either by other residents or by nursing home staff.
Resident to Resident: surprisingly, resident to resident abuse is more common than staff to resident abuse in nursing homes. However, it is still the responsibility of the nursing home aids and other staff to monitor residents and ensure residents have a safe living environment.
How Glass & Robson Can Help Nursing Home Abuse Victims
Contacting the nursing home abuse attorneys at Glass & Robson is a vital first step if you suspect your loved one is being abused. They will assist you in compiling all possible evidence and documentation to assist you when reporting the abuse to the proper authorities. This includes the Georgia Department of Community Health, who regulates nursing homes. In addition, the attorneys at Glass & Robson can help you seek legal remedies for injuries or even death to a love one who is injured or killed in a nursing home.
Helping your loved one receive the care and compensation they deserve is our first priority. We will ensure that a proper investigation into your claims takes place and will be by your side through the entire process.
If you suspect your loved one of being the victim of nursing home abuse, please contact us for a free consultation. We would be happy to discuss your legal options and help you understand the proper next steps that need to be taken.