When we place our loved one in a nursing home, we expect that the facility will provide quality care in a clean and professional environment, and we expect our family members to be treated with the respect and reverence they deserve. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In a study of 2,000 interviews of nursing home residents, 95% of those residents reported being neglected or seeing another resident neglected by the staff.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, the caring and experienced New York elder neglect attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. can help you understand your rights and make nursing homes accountable for the care that they are required to give.
Elder Neglect In Nursing Homes
Elder neglect occurs in nursing homes when a resident does not receive appropriate medical, physical, or emotional attention. This neglect does not simply amount to loneliness. It can pose a serious risk to the elderly resident. Oftentimes, neglect may even lead to physical or emotional abuse.
A study released by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in 2015 documents that there is a significant relationship between higher staffing levels (particularly RNs) and higher outcomes of care. This includes:
- Lower mortality rates
- Improved physical functioning
- Less antibiotic use
- Fewer pressure ulcers (bedsores)
- Less catheterization of residents
- Fewer urinary tract infections
- Lower hospitalization rates
- Less weight loss and dehydration
Despite the fact that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has established minimum recommended staffing levels, neither they nor Congress have implemented specific staffing levels for nursing homes. Unfortunately, New York nursing homes fall short of the minimum recommendation for nursing staff levels. Our elderly are suffering as a result.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, over 3 million men and women reside in over 16,000 nursing homes in the United States. Alarmingly, a 2010 National ombudsman reporting system study revealed that nursing homes grossly neglected 14% of elderly people residing in their facilities.
The Kaiser Foundation reported that in 2014, the average number of deficiencies that nursing homes received were 7.96. New York has a slightly higher average, at over 8 deficiencies per facility. Nationwide, more than one in 5 facilities received a deficiency for actual harm or jeopardy to an elderly resident.
These numbers show that too often the most vulnerable members of our society – those who cannot fight for themselves – are abused and neglected, or their serious medical conditions go untreated. The repercussions for these failures can be horrifying.
Common Nursing Home Deficiencies
Again, elderly neglect can cause a wide variety of harm to residents of nursing homes. In an effort to improve conditions and protect our elderly population, state surveyors assess nursing facilities on approximately 175 factors. If the facility fails any requirement, they are issued a deficiency or citation for that individual requirement. The most commonly cited deficiencies across the nation were:
- Failures in infection control (42.6 percent)
- Accident-prone environment (39.7 percent)
- Food sanitation (38.9 percent)
- Quality of care (33.1 percent)
- Unnecessary drugs (25.6 percent)
Whether due to low staffing levels or apathy, many nursing homes fail to provide enough staffing to adequately prevent residents from developing infections, bedsores, weight loss, functional decline, and hospitalization.
Detecting Signs of Elder Abuse
Nursing home neglect or abuse is not always immediate and it is not always obvious. The evidence of neglect or abuse may develop slowly and take their toll over time. However, here are some of the most common forms of neglect or abuse to look out for:
- Bedsores (pressure ulcers)
- Broken bones of an unknown origin
- High fevers and other symptoms that go untreated because staff members fail to arrange for adequate doctor supervision
- Respiratory illnesses or loss of motor functionality caused when residents are left lying down all day without assistance to sit up or walk
Often, we don’t really know what is going on behind the closed doors of the nursing facility we put our relative in. Therefore, it is essential for you to check up on your loved one regularly and be on the lookout for these telltale signs of elder abuse and nursing home neglect. In the event you suspect something is awry and abuse or neglect has occurred, you need to immediately contact a New York nursing home neglect attorney who will fight on your loved one’s behalf to ensure that his or her rights are protected.
Reporting Elder Neglect or Abuse
Elder abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes in the U.S. If you are being neglected in a nursing home, or suspect someone else is being neglected or abused in a nursing home, there are multiple reporting options available to you. You can help stop the cycle of neglect and abuse by:
- Notifying the patient’s treating physician
- Using an Elder Care Locator to find assistance in your area (Hotline – 800-677-1116)
- Contacting the National Center on Elder Abuse
- Contacting the National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence
Trust Our Team of New York Elder Neglect Attorneys
If your loved one has suffered from nursing home neglect or elder abuse in New York, you deserve answers and your loved one deserves justice. You and your family may be eligible for financial compensation by filing a legal claim against the negligent facility. Although no amount of money can undo the damage your loved one suffered, the compensation received may help pay for better care for your loved one in the future and hold those responsible for their pain and suffering accountable.
If your loved one has suffered from nursing home neglect or abuse, contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. Our team of elder neglect attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to hold the nursing home accountable while obtaining monetary damages for your family. Contact us today at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!