Nursing Home Abuse

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The decision of whether to place a family member in a nursing home or long term care facility is a difficult one as all parties involved want to ensure that their loved one receives the best care available and is able to live comfortably. Elderly residents of these facilities and their families depend on the nursing home staff to provide care and ensure their safety. Many of the elderly care facilities in the United States provide excellent care for their inhabitants, however, there has been an unfortunate increase in the number of nursing home residents who have been the victims of abuse or neglect by the nursing home staff. The reason why the residents of these homes have been the victims of abuse is not entirely clear. The rise in abuse and neglect claims may be attributed to nursing homes that are understaffed and not able to handle the growing number of patients, or nursing homes with staff that are improperly trained or that have staff members that are not properly screened or qualified to handle the job. Many instances of nursing home abuse or neglect go unreported as the elderly victims may be too frightened, embarrassed, or simply not physically able to report the abuses. The nursing home staff may also conceal any abuse to avoid investigation or lawsuits. Nursing home abuse manifests itself in many different forms including physical abuse, mental abuse, financial abuse, or neglect.

Nursing Home Abuse Study

A congressional report issued in 2001, found that about one out of every three nursing homes in the United States had been cited for an abuse violation. The report was completed by the Special Investigations Division of the Minority Staff of the Committee on Government Reform. The investigation looked at the results of state inspections and complaint investigations of nursing homes over a two-year period from January 1, 1999 through January 1, 2001. The study, which was the first of its kind to look at the state inspection statistics collectively, found that of the approximately 17,000 nursing homes that existed at the time, 5,283 of the nursing homes had been cited for an abuse violation. The statistics referred to in the report indicated an increase in abuse over the years as, according to the report, twice as many nursing homes were reported for abuse in 2000 than in 1996. In the year 2000, 16% of nursing homes were cited for abuse violations, up from only 5.9% in 1996. The reports of abuse cited in the congressional report range from verbal to physical abuse. Some of the more egregious violations discussed in the report included cases of sexual abuse of the residents by the staff members. The investigation also highlighted instances where the staff members failed to protect residents from other residents who had a previous history of violent acts.

Questions and Consultations

If you or a family member has suffered injury from nursing home abuse and neglect or are interested in more information on nursing home abuse litigation, please fill out the free case evaluation form and a member of Seeger Weiss LLP’s experienced staff will call you to discuss your potential rights concerning nursing home abuse. Attorney consultations incur no obligation on your part and all initial consultations are free of charge and do not create an attorney-client relationship.

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