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Our elderly loved ones are precious and deserve to safely live out their remaining years with comfort, dignity, and respect. Often their medical needs eventually go beyond what family members can safely address at home, so their loved ones spend time and money finding the best nursing home facilities within their budget, trusting that their elderly loved one will receive the care that’s promised. Sadly, all too often a family’s level of trust plummets when they begin to notice disturbing signs of neglect, stolen property, and sometimes indications of abuse. There are over 2 million reports of elder abuse per year in the United States and over 40% of nursing home residents report neglect while untold numbers of neglect cases likely go unreported. Even more staggering, over half of nursing home attendants in a 2010 report admitted to committing forms of neglect and abuse against the vulnerable residents in their care.
Our elderly loved ones become as vulnerable as children in the last stages of their lives, yet they deserve to be treated with the dignity and respect of adults with many years of life experience behind them. While many cases of nursing home neglect lead to the successful recovery of economic and non-economic damages in lawsuits, that cannot undo the trauma and harm committed against beloved elderly family members who experience the neglect of their basic human needs.
According to the CDC, nursing home neglect occurs when caretakers in a nursing home or elder-care facility “fail to meet a resident’s basic needs, including food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care.”
Neglect in nursing homes most commonly results from inadequate staffing, over-extended staff members, and poorly trained staff due to high employee turnover rates. Understaffing may result from a lack of qualified applicants, but all too often it stems from facility managers seeking to maximize profits by reducing staffing costs. Over 70% of nursing homes in the U.S. are for-profit, privately-owned facilities. Understaffed facilities result in over-extended, fatigued staff members who are more likely to neglect the basic needs of residents in the following ways:
All of the above are examples of both unintentional and intentional neglect that can result in great harm or even death to vulnerable elderly residents.
Research indicates that only a small percentage of nursing home abuse cases are identified, reported, and addressed. Many more remain unreported and elderly loved ones suffer in silence. The elderly are a demographic that’s the least likely to report their situation of neglect or abuse due to the following reasons:
No matter the reason an elderly resident cannot or will not speak out against mistreatment, nursing home facilities must be held accountable when they fail in their duty to provide quality care to dependent elderly residents.
Not all nursing home residents can adequately articulate experiences of neglect or abuse to visiting family members due to speech aphasia and/or dementia. Some may not be aware of what is happening to them. Defenseless elderly family members may depend on your alertness to their condition and your response to common signs of nursing home neglect including:
If your loved one shows any of the above warning signs it’s essential to act quickly.
All elderly residents in nursing homes deserve quality care. Sadly, a staggering number of elderly nursing home residents don’t have their most basic needs adequately met, and for some residents, the neglect can lead to life-threatening complications, swift declines, and death.
If you suspect an elderly family member or friend has been neglected in their nursing home facility you should act fast, but without losing your temper. Instead, calmly and rationally take the following steps:
By taking swift, corrective action to protect your elderly family member and to hold the nursing home facility accountable, you can help put a stop to the behavior and protect not only your loved one but also other elderly residents in the facility. Contact a Knapp & Roberts Phoenix elder abuse attorney to schedule a free consultation.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.