Considering one of the most vulnerable human populations reside in nursing homes, shouldn’t they be safe? Is abuse wrong? Is emotional abuse, financial abuse, physical assault, and neglect all wrong? If you answer yes to all of these questions, then pay close attention to these statistics.
- There are over 15,500 nursing homes in the U.S.
- There are nearly 1 ½ million nursing home residents
- Nursing homes are proven not safe:
- 92% have received cited deficiencies
- 25% have been cited in deaths or injury
- 14% have had deficiencies that actually caused harm
When analyzing Substandard care by State there are definitely some areas one would prefer not to reside in. Take a look below for a quick glance at the numbers of citations by state. This gives you a percentage of nursing home surveys that resulted in citations.
- 16.0 – 20.0% Oklahoma
- 12.0 – 15.9% Arkansas
- 8.0 – 11.9% New Mexico, New Jersey
- 4.0 – 7.9% 15 states
- 0.0 – 3.9% Most states
Okay, so the majority of states rate decently, but would you want to be the one resident in the nursing home who suffered injury even in a state where the percentage is 0.5%? I wouldn’t!
Understanding the difference: Neglect and Abuse
Even though both are harmful and both can result in injury or death, the law differentiates between neglect and abuse.
Neglect is ignoring or failing to provide appropriate care. This failure can lead to harm or pain. Neglect may be unintentional, but still be neglect. Here are a few examples:
- Not assisting with toileting or changing of briefs
- Not bathing
- Not walking
- Not helping with eating or drinking
- Not assisting to participate in activities
- Not helping when called for help
- Inappropriate body positioning – not turning, propping, using pillow, etc. to avoid bedsores or contractures
- Inappropriate hand hygiene
Abuse is a bird of a different feather. This is the intentional cause of pain or harm. Abuse can be at the hands staff or visitors and can take on many forms:
- Physical – roughness or bad care
- Corporal punishment
- Seclusion – not medically necessitated
It’s important for all family, friends, visitors, and staff to know and be on the watch for signs and symptoms of abuse. Often, nursing home abuse goes unreported or is not reported appropriately because of fear or embarrassment. Watch for these signs:
Any physical injury
- Broken bones
- Skin breakdown – bedsores
- Head injuries
- Frequent falls
Neglect signs and symptoms
- Unkempt – poor hygiene (hair, skin, nails, teeth, etc.)
- Soiled bedding – look, smell (pay attention)
- Dehydration or malnourishment (constantly thirsty, hungry, losing weight)
Emotional or behavioral changes
- Eye avoidance
- Desire to “just die”
- Crying frequently
- Complains of mistreatment or poor care
Why? Why in the world would anyone want to abuse the elderly?
MONEY! To some Profit is more important than the Patient. Here are a few facts:
- 90% of U.S. nursing homes are understaffed
- Private Investment nursing homes have worse ratios
- Across the board for Private, other for-profit, and nonprofit the smallest proportion of staffing is the RN, then the LPN, then CNAs.
- Hire less staff, less-education = increase profits = worse care
- Amazingly the ones that have the worst staffing ratios, lesser-educated staff, etc. make the most profit
When considering a nursing home, think about these other interesting facts. 92% employ a least one person who has some type of conviction on their record. Medication is misused on 1 in every 7 nursing home residents.
This is really a serious problem. If it were not, the statistics wouldn’t be so bad. If this were not real there would not be such abuse case award as this:
- $63 million – California nursing home chain
- 32,000 patients – share portion of award
- Mandated staffing
- 6 year case
- $43.5 million – Georgia nursing home in wrongful death
- Home guilty of Medicare and Medicaid fraud
- $42.75 million – Kentucky nursing home resident
- died from complete neglect
- only 9 days in the home
- Adult Protective Services substantiated and helped in case
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.