Archive for August, 2010
This type of abuse is not acceptable in any way, shape or form. Unfortunately, it happens far more often than we think.
Recent statistics dealing with nursing home abuse indicate that virtually 90 percent of all nursing homes in the U.S. – that bears repeating, 90 percent of ALL nursing homes in the U.S. – have been taken to task for violating federal safety and health standards. Think about that for a minute. What on earth are they thinking?
They are caring for our most precious loved ones in conditions that are unhealthy and unsafe. This should make you ask yourself whether or not it’s a good idea to admit your senior family members to a nursing home. It’s a fair enough question, and one that many people ask an Arkansas injury lawyer before their loved one is placed; largely to check if the home has been sued in the past for abuse and/or negligence.
At one time, privately owned nursing community homes were a great alternative. Today, 94 percent of them have been called on the carpet for the same violations as nursing homes. There is an epidemic of abuse and neglect, largely done in the name of the almighty dollar. It’s not that residents in these homes don’t have rights; they do, under the federal Nursing Home Reform Law (1987). It mandates that these facilities must promote and protect every resident’s rights. This obviously isn’t being done if you consider those awful statistics. Nursing home abuse is a crime – period.
Did you know that there were at least 14,000 nursing home deaths, due to neglect, from 1999 to 2002? You would have every right to think those numbers are even higher now. There are other numbers from the National Center on Elder Abuse that also show at least one resident in 20 becomes the target of abuse or negligence. Frankly, those numbers are probably higher. What is very disheartening is the further evidence that roughly 57 percent of nurses’ aides in long-term nursing homes either witnessed or took part in abusing a senior.
Right now, there are over 1.5 million people in our nation’s 15,000 nursing homes; statistics Arkansas injury lawyers work with when preparing a case of this nature. This is not just a number to be digested and tut-tutted over. This is a warning for those who will come next, that those facilities need to meet federal health and safety standards to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid.
This is important because those two health care programs cover at least two-thirds of nursing home patients and rack up a cost of $75 billion a year. Furthermore, if the basic health and safety standards are not being met, what does that portend for the residents regarding other personal care issues?
Nursing home abuse stalks the corridors of many long-term care homes and private facilities in the form of neglect, which may include the presence of bedsores, stiff joints, over medication to keep the patients quiet, disgusting personal hygiene, dramatic patient weight loss, physical abuse, withholding medical care and sexual abuse – yes, sexual abuse by staff and other patients. Approximately 10 percent or more of physical abuse cases involves sexual abuse.
Your loved one may not speak out for fear of retaliation, or may not be able to say anything due to physical or cognitive difficulties. Many seniors are unable to fend off sexual assaults. Watch for the following signs if you suspect sexual abuse: bruising in the breast area, upper abdomen or inner thighs, vaginal or anal bleeding, trouble walking or sitting, irritation or itching in the genital area or a sexually transmitted disease. If you see this, don’t think twice, head for the nearest Arkansas injury lawyer and discuss filing a lawsuit.
Nursing home abuse may be silent, but it does send out subtle signals. Be on the lookout for those signs.
Nursing home abuse is an abhorrent blight on society, and as a nation, we need to do something about it. If we don’t want to find ourselves in the same situation further down the road when we age, we need to take this bull by the horns.
“For those who have loved ones in nursing homes right now, you may want to keep your eyes open for signs that abuse is taking place. Often the signals are silent, because the family member is afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation, but if you spend time quietly observing what is going on, you will see a clear pattern of abuse if it is present,” explained Michael Smith, an Arkansas personal injury lawyer.
Things to be on the lookout for are bed sores, bruises and wounds, weight loss, verbal abuse, malnutrition, excessive medication and unsanitary conditions. Bed sores are caused because the patient has been lying in bed for too long without having any exercise. Wounds or unexplained bruises may be the result of inadequate assistance from the nursing staff. If the wounds are infected, that should immediately raise a red flag.
Any type of weight loss is usually associated with neglect or the onset of depression as a result of neglect. It may also indicate malnutrition. If the rooms and bathrooms at the home are not clean or are barely passable, this may indicate the home is understaffed and the patients are not getting the care they need. “If at any time you overhear insults or harmful comments, you will know there is a problem with the level of care your loved one may be receiving,” remarked Smith.
If there are a significant number of residents in the home that are over medicated so the staff’s job is easier, run to the nearest phone and call an Arkansas personal injury lawyer. This is called chemical restraint and it must not be allowed to happen.
“While it would help if you could ask your family member precisely what is going on, that isn’t always possible if they have dementia or don’t understand what you are asking them. Basically, your intuition is a good indicator of something being wrong. After all, you ‘know’ your family member, and if something changes for the worse, you know something isn’t right. This is the time to give me a call and we will discuss what is happening,” added Smith.
Learn more by visiting http://www.Arkansaslawhelp.com
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