Nursing home negligence and abuse are at an all-time high in the United States, according to various news and statistical reports. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in 1997, there were 1.5 million people age 65 and over living in nursing homes. It is estimated that there will be 3 million seniors seeking nursing home care in the year 2030. Also, GAO estimates that about 43 percent of all people will eventually need some form of nursing care at some point in their lives.
When families entrust their loved ones to the care of a nursing home, they expect that they will be cared for in a responsible and compassionate manner. However, this does not always happen. A recent government study found that at least one in five of all nursing homes in the United States are seriously deficient. These deficiencies place nursing home residents in immediate jeopardy or cause them actual harm. Some of the common negligence and abuse issues encountered in nursing homes include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse
- Neglect (malnutrition, dehydration, poor hygiene)
- Financial exploitation or fraud
- Failure to follow doctor’s orders
- Lack of supervision where necessary
- Unnecessary or excessive medication
A majority of negligence and abuse scenarios can be seen in nursing homes that are understaffed or lack qualified, experienced nursing staff. A recent study also found that negligence and abuse is more prevalent in nursing homes that are for-profit rather than non-profit. A number of for-profit nursing homes deliberately keep their facilities understaffed in order to maximize profits.
Nursing home residents may suffer serious personal injuries as a result of negligence at the hands of the care provider. Typically, these injuries include bed sores, pressure sores, infections and falls. Some of these injuries can even result in the death of the resident. If your loved one has been seriously injured or killed as a result of nursing home negligence or abuse, please remember that you have rights. The victim can file a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home seeking compensation or the family of the deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim.