Nursing home abuse is one of the most reprehensible acts that can occur in our society. These acts violate the rules of society in many ways. First, there is the actual abuse or neglect that is inflicted and the negative effects that it has on the patient. This is made even worse by the fact that the nurse or caregiver was trusted family members and loved ones to provide care for their loved one. This breach of trust is even more reprehensible because the caregiver and care facility are being compensated to provide care. Thus, multiple levels of trust are breached when a nursing or extended care home fails to provide adequate care and support. And, worst of all, a loved one who has spent his or her life working dutifully to make the world a better place suffers physical trauma, emotional trauma, or both.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
It is sad to say, but nursing home abuse can take many forms. In general, abuse in a nursing home, hospice, or extended care living arrangement occurs when the actions or practices of a medical professional fall outside of the professional standard of care. This means that a doctor, nurse, specialist, or other caregiver acts in a way that deviates from how a similarly situated medical professional would act. Deviations from the standard of care can also occur at the institutional level due to decisions made by the nursing home management and executives.
Nursing Homes Can Be Understaffed Due to Management Decisions Regarding Profitability
Many times the root cause of nursing home abuse does not rest with the individual medical professionals but with the directors and managers who set facility staffing levels. An understaffed nursing home with overworked and overburdened employees is significantly more likely to have cases of nursing home abuse. Some of the most frequent signs of an understaffed home are frequent urinary tract infects in patients due to inadequate care. Other signs of an understaffed nursing home where patient neglect may occur also includes pressure ulcers (bed sores) and frequent respiratory infections.
What Other Types of Abuse Can Occur in Assisted Living Facilities?
Unfortunately, injuries caused by neglect due to understaffing are far from the only type of abuse that occurs in nursing homes and elderly care facilities. In some cases, nurses and other staff members may be abusive and violent to patients. In other cases, sexual abuse may occur at the facility. In still other cases, staff members may make errors regarding medication. They may fail to provide prescribed drugs, provide the wrong dosage, or provide the wrong prescription. In other cases, staff members may even over-sedate patients to make their own job easier. While these forms of abuse can occur in any home, they are also made more likely by inadequate levels of staffing.
What Are the Consequences of Abuse Suffered in a Nursing Home?
The consequences of nursing home abuse can be extremely serious and tragic. The patient can suffer serious physical injuries including cuts, bruises, scrapes, abrasions, burns or even broken bones. In the case of neglect sores, urinary tract infections (UTIs), dehydration, malnutrition, and bowel impaction can occur. For elders, any type of abuse can also inflict psychological scars. In some cases, they may even come to blame their loved ones rather than the responsible parties for their abuse. In some cases, the abuse tragically results in the death of the individual. Therefore, it is essential that you keep an eye out for signs of abuse, report signs when you see them, and hold the home accountable for the abuse it inflicts on your loved one.
What Are Some Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
There are many signs and symptoms that a concerned son, daughter, or another family member can use to help identify signs of abuse. To start, anytime your elderly loved one suffers an injury when in the care of a facility, the circumstances and cause of the injury should be thoroughly investigated. When injuries are frequently reoccurring, this is a red flag that he or she may not be receiving adequate assistance or that dangerous conditions may exist at the facility.
A loved one that rapidly loses weight after entering a facility may also be suffering from neglect. Likewise, unexplained access to your loved one’s accounts or generous gifts to staff members may be illustrative of financial abuse. Other signs of abuse one should watch for include:
- Recurrent infections where medical treatment is not provided
- Bed sores
- High levels of staff turnover
- Frequent UTIs
- Low staff pay
- Low levels of staff training
- Minimal levels of credentials among staff members
Unfortunately, most instances of nursing home abuse are not reported. Abuse by other residents due to insufficient staffing and supervision also frequently goes unreported while being explained away by staff members.
Contact A Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
At the Philadelphia personal injury and nursing home abuse law firm of The Reiff Law Firm, we have successfully handled thousands of cases since 1979. We believe that nursing homes and assisted living facilities must be held accountable for their poor treatment of our loved ones in their golden years. We have considerable personal experience with these matters and we will work with you and our experienced team of experts and investigators to represent your rights. Call today for a free consultation with a nursing home or assisted living abuse and neglect lawyer to evaluate your nursing home and negligence case at (215) 246-9000 or contact us online.