What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home malpractice is any single or repeated act of intentional or unintentional negligence committed by a nursing home professional that has the potential to cause physical, mental, or psychological harm to nursing home residents. Any commission or omission of an act that harms a patient may be considered nursing home abuse.
In New York, nursing home negligence often comes under the category of elder abuse and is widespread throughout the United States. Approximately 1.7 million people are cared for in nursing homes every year and it is estimated that a quarter of all Americans will receive long term care at some point in their lifetime.
Thousands of nursing home residents die from starvation, dehydration, or bedsores each year and all three of these conditions are a result of nursing home malpractice.
Unfortunately nursing home abuse comes in all sizes and flavors. These include: improper care, verbal or emotional abuse, neglect, or physical negligence.
Nursing home negligence can take many forms such as:
Home health attendants who negligently drop a patient
Patients who are burned by scalding water
Falls from wheel chairs
Falls from beds where railing was not placed in an upward and locked position or where the patient was left unattended in an unsafe situation
Improper or insufficient care which leads to bedsores or dehydration
Patients who injure themselves by trying to get up by themselves because they couldn't obtain assistance
Slips and falls due to premises liability such as: broken or slippery floors, loose cords, clutter, etc.
Problems With the Care Facility May Be Due To:
Poorly trained, poorly paid, or insufficient nursing staff
Inadequate responses to questions about nursing home care
Sometimes, staff members have a history of violence. Other times, staff members are poorly qualified or not trained adequately.
The New York Law Firm of Hill & Moin LLP focuses on cases of physical negligence, general neglect and medical negligence in nursing homes and care facilities. If you suspect that your friend or loved one is a victim of any of the following, contact us now to discuss the details in confidence.
Physical Negligence is the neglect of an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment. Potential signs of physical abuse may include:
Any incident involving accidently broken bones - especially a fractured hip
Elder reports of being slapped or mistreated
Signs of assault such as unexplained abrasions, cuts, burns, bruises, swelling, scars, etc.
Unexplained/hidden or internal injuries
Inappropriate use of restraints - often evidenced by marks on the patients wrists or arms.
Prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water
Pushing, shaking, beating of an elderly resident
Forcing an older person to stay in a room
Physical impairment that the caretaker cannot adequately explain
Hitting, slapping, pinching or kicking of an elderly resident
Unsanitary and unclean conditions
Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter
Any injury or death occurring during or shortly after an episode of wandering (including outside the facility) when the staff is not aware that the resident is missing for some period of time
Smells of urine and/or feces
Unkempt appearance or poor personal hygiene
Disregard for the necessities of daily living
Sudden, inexplicable weight loss
Failure to protect from health and safety hazards
Heavy medication or sedation
Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
Lack of care for existing medical problems
Failure to prevent dehydration, or malnutrition
Lack of proper care causing repeated infections
Not providing timely access to medical services
Inappropriate administration of drugs thru distribution of too much or too little medication
Common Signs of Abuse
Changes in temperament or behavior in the elder
Frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and the elderly person
Staff refusing to allow visitors to see resident or significant delays in allowing visitors to see resident
Injuries requiring emergency treatment or hospitalization
Unexplained or unexpected death of the resident
Resident is frequently ill, and the illnesses are not promptly reported to the physician and family
Prescriptions that have more remaining than they should
Family members often place their trust and confidence in a nursing home to care for an elderly relative. Too often, nursing homes place their drive for profits above the needs and rights of residents.
The problem often lies in the residents inability to clearly communicate with family members. Many of the elderly suffer from Alzheimer's, dementia and normally declining memory function. Some are threatened by staff .
As the nursing shortage becomes a bigger problem, many of these facilities hire staff through temporary staffing agencies.
The laws on nursing home abuse have allowed repeat offenders to be re-staffed, continuing the cycle of abuse.
Unfortunately, deaths and serious injuries have resulted from nursing home neglect and abuse. If you suspect that your friend or relative is a victim of nursing home neglect you should immediately report the problem to the nursing home’s attention. The nursing home should act promptly and if the problem does not subside government assistance is available.
The New York State Department of Health Nursing Home Complaint hotline is 1-888-201-4563 and can be called 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, go to http://www.nyhealth.gov/facilities/nursing/complaints.htm.
Some residents are hesitant to disclose instances of nursing home abuse out of fear that the abuse will get worse or because they do not want to burden their families. Some residents may not even be able to communicate that nursing home abuse is occurring due to physical or mental limitations. If there are any signs or indicators that nursing home abuse is present, immediate action should be taken.
The elderly are often frail and vulnerable to mistreatment by nursing home staff members. When you feel that your loved one is being abused or neglected, confront the nursing home authorities to alert them of your concern. While this must be done, it often produces no results.
Nursing home residents do have legal rights, and this type of inhumane treatment cannot be tolerated. If this happens to you or a loved one, Contact us today for a confidential consultation.
Preventing elder abuse means doing a few simple things
Listening to seniors and their caregivers
Intervening when you suspect elder abuse
Educating others about how to recognize and report elder abuse
Take a look at the elder’s medications. Does the amount in the vial jive with the date of the prescription?
Call and visit as often as you can.
What can you do as a concerned friend or family member?
Watch for warning signs that might indicate elder abuse. If you suspect abuse, report it and take appropriate action immediately.
NEW YORK (RK (WABC) -- A janitor at a nursing home has been charged with attempting to sexually abuse an 81-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease who is unable to communicate.
Now, her family is speaking out about the ordeal exclusively to Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace.
"I feel very angry, betrayed," said Loren Levy, granddaughter...
Don't wonder about your rights!