Over 1 million Americans currently reside in nursing homes. These residents depend on the staff for basic needs that we often take for granted.
To ensure proper and appropriate care for the residents, nursing homes are required by law to maintain the federal standards of care outlined in the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act. Unfortunately, these standards are not always maintained and a high number of residents are being injured or abused by staff of nursing homes.
Each case is unique, but the injuries can be placed into the below categories.
Emotional abuse is one of the common forms of nursing home abuse, and oftentimes one of the most cruel forms. Although there may not be any physical maladies, psychological effects can be shattering.
Signs of emotional abuse may be difficult to pinpoint, but some of the more common signs include:
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed;
- Withdrawal or fear around staff;
- Changes in personality.
Disturbingly, nursing home residents are vulnerable to sexual abuse. In particular, residents with advanced dementia are at a high risk, as they often cannot tell their families what is happening. Therefore, loved ones should be hypervigilant. If your loved one is exhibiting any of the below signs of abuse, you need to contact an attorney right away.
- Pelvic injuries
- Contraction of a sexually transmitted disease
- Panic attacks
- Social or emotional withdrawal
- Fear of nursing home staff
Statistics show that elderly people who are abused have a 300% higher risk of death than those who are not. Abuse can take on many forms, and if your loved one died suspiciously or unexpectedly, the nursing home may be to blame.
The development of bedsores during a nursing home stay is a strong sign that the staff is not caring properly for that resident. Bedsores are highly dangerous, and if left untreated, they can cause infections or other life-threatening issues, including death.
Bedsores, which are also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, typically develop on the hips, back, feet, or other areas where the bone is close to the skin. They can develop when the resident is lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, or being otherwise immobile for extensive periods of time.
Due to fragility, elderly residents are at a higher risk of broken or fractured bones. However, it is the responsibility of nursing home staff to identify risk factors and take steps to prevent such injuries.
While the majority of broken or fractured bones are caused by falls, they can also be caused by staff dropping residents or failing to respond to calls by residents requesting assistance for moving around.
While falls cause the vast majority of broken and fractured bones, they can also cause other serious injuries such as cuts, gashes, concussions, etc. It the responsibility of nursing home staff to identify those residents who are at a high risk of falling and do everything possible to prevent those falls.
Many falls in nursing homes result from a combination of risk factors. Again, common risk factors should be noted by the staff. Some of the more common causes of falls include:
- Muscle and bone density loss
- Medication side effects
- Cognition issues
- Poor vision
Nursing home residents are often on numerous medications. Errors in dosage amounts, scheduling, and following strict doctors’ orders happen often, and they can have serious consequences.
Overmedicating is likely the most dangerous medication error. Sadly, this happens, and sometimes it is intentional. Nursing home staff may purposely overmedicate to subdue residents.
Residents who are not provided with proper nutrition and hydration are at a higher risk for the development of bedsores, infections, falls and illnesses.
It is the responsibility of nursing homes to provide proper nutrition and hydration and to dutifully log how much each resident eats. Nursing homes should also provide a proper environment for the residents to eat in and should serve appetizing and nutritious foods.
Some of the common signs of nursing home malnutrition or dehydration include:
- Significant weight loss
- Extreme thirst
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Bed sores
Contact Us Today
If your loved one is a resident of a nursing home and has experienced any of the above types of abuse, contact the Yearin Law Office today. Our staff will work to ensure that your family receives the care they deserve. Call today at 480-502-0708 for a free consultation.