Nursing Home Abuse
When nursing home facilities undertrain, underpay, and understaff, the results can be deadly. Grant Law Office recently handled a case where an elderly nursing home resident died as the result of a fall that caused brain hemorrhage. The gentleman was considered to be at high fall risk. So, fall precautions were ordered for him.
Last April, 77 year old Carol Sheppard was rushed to the emergency room with a three inch gash on her head and bleeding on the brain. What else nurses and doctors discovered was very disturbing. Sheppard, a resident of the New London Healthcare Center for four years, was found to have a bed sore that went to her bone, severely ingrown toenails, an open wound on her hand with a bandage that hadn’t been changed for days. Hospital staff also described her as being in overall, poor hygiene.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), the United States has reached the greatest number of people age 65 and older in census history. And the population of older citizens is only growing. In fact, it is projected that 20 percent of the U.S. population will be comprised of people age 65 and older by 2050.
The increasing population of elderly family members means that more and more families are turning to nursing homes to help care for their older loved ones. Unfortunately, that also means that more parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents are becoming the victims of nursing home abuse and their families don’t even know what the signs look like.
A new study shows that $5.1 billion of taxpayer money was spent by our government to fund care at nursing homes that failed to meet basic federal requirements. The Associated Press reports that one out of every three patients who required care at a skilled nursing facility ended up in a place that did not meet federal standards of care.
When someone requires daily help from a therapist or nurse, they can pursue financial support for their needs from Medicare. This new study from the Department of Health and Human Services clearly shows that many vulnerable elderly patients are not receiving the basic care they need. Facilities that are receiving funding from Medicare or Medicaid need to write up care plans that are specifically tailored for each resident. Unfortunately, many facilities are finding ways to get funding for procedures and services they are not even providing. Others are requiring patients to go through therapy that is not needed just so that the facility can continue to receive funding.
The placement of an elderly family member in a supervised living residence, or nursing home, is an incredibly hard decision. News reports of terrible accounts of nursing home abuse make the choice even more difficult. This may occur for many reasons stemming from a facility’s negligence. Among them are the insufficient monitoring of employee backgrounds, inadequate training programs, lack of proper staffing, improper administration efforts by supervisors, and other causes. Whatever the cause, all are indefensible.
The National Center On Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that one to two million elderly nursing home residents (ages 65 years old and over) have been subject to injury, exploitation, and general mistreatment from staff at a nursing home facility where they resided. According to the NCEA, a mere one out of fourteen cases of this insidious type of abuse is brought to the awareness of the appropriate authorities. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculated that over 500,000 elderly adults above 60 years old have been subject to abuse of some kind each year in the United States.
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