Nursing home abuse, along with assisted living abuse, is a widespread
problem in the U.S. Nearly 17,000 nursing homes care for an
estimated 1.6 million residents. The U.S. General Accounting Office
has estimated that as much as 43 percent of the American population
over 65 will live in a nursing home at some time in their lives.
Unfortunately, the quality of elder care in these facilities has
declined as the number of residents and facilities increase.
Recent findings from a U.S. Senate Committee on Aging found that 27 percent of nursing homes in America have been cited for serious health or safety violations. About 54 percent of nursing homes had inadequate nurse aide time per resident, which could lead to injuries and illness. New Jersey has a Nursing Home Bill of Rights, which must be conspicuously posted in every facility and should be read by every resident. New York has a Patient's Bill of Rights that includes a nursing home resident's rights as well.
Nursing homes are subject to certain standards and must comply with nursing home neglect law such as the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, which was implemented in response to complaints of nursing home abuses and assisted living neglect. These standards include having adequate staffing, supervision and enough assistive devices to prevent accidents and injuries. New York and New Jersey nursing home neglect laws include proper assessment of each resident’s medical condition and functional status and the drafting of a care plan for each resident. Complete and adequate records must be maintained to ensure that proper medications are administered and that each facility provides whatever services are necessary for proper nutrition, hydration, grooming and health care.
Common causes of Nursing Home Abuse
Many elder care facilities have failed to adhere to these standards. Instances of nursing home or assisted living neglect include the following:
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Unexplained bruises or injuries
- Symptoms of improper medicating
- Bed sores, pressure ulcers and infections
- Listlessness or unresponsiveness from the resident
- Sexual assault
- Falsifying records
Common injuries as a result of abuse are bruises
and broken bones from slip and fall accidents, brain or head injuries,
and disabilities or fatalities from lack of or improper administering of
A lack of training may be a violation of nursing home neglect law and be a cause of the abuses that result in complaints about staff inattentiveness. Some nursing homes may not provide appropriate oversight and supervision of their employees.
Nursing home or assisted living facilities may be responsible for not complying with federal and state laws, but many facilities are owned by large corporations or their subsidiaries. Some of their staffs may be supplied by temporary agencies who may have failed to conduct adequate criminal background checks or falsified their employee's qualifications.
Nursing home abuse attorneys often have the resourcefulness and expertise to wade through the bureaucratic nightmare of nursing home abuse law. Nursing home abuse attorneys can uncover the culpable parties who may have either directly committed the abuse, supplied the guilty staff person or persons, or perpetuated a policy or practice not in accordance with applicable laws. Nursing home abuse attorneys are able to contact the proper insurance company in such cases to handle any abuse or injury claims and fight for the victims rights.
When an injury or an instance of suspected nursing home or assisted living abuse occurs, a family member needs to visit the facility and examine the resident’s room and area where the injury occurred. Copies of all records need to be requested and the resident should be examined by a physician immediately. It is also essential that the victim or their family contact a skilled nursing home abuse attorney.
If you suspect that a family member or loved one has been injured while in a skilled nursing home facility, we can help you to understand your rights. Your initial consultation costs you nothing, and the attorney will give you a fair, honest, professional assessment of your case.