Educating Our Community on Nursing Home Abuse
People put their elderly parent or grandparent in a nursing home so that they can be safely taken care of, so that someone can properly look after them in their old age. No one expects that these nursing home residents should get anything less than the proper care and respect that they deserve, but with the horrifying rise in nursing care abuse, this is not always the case. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse in the United States, more than 30 percent of all nursing homes in America indulge in some form of resident abuse.
Statistics show that nearly 50 percent of all nursing homes are short staffed. The staff people who do work in these facilities are underpaid, overworked, and all too often overburdened, which in turn leads to elder neglect and abuse.
Even more alarming is the prediction that the problem will only worsen in the near future. More than 91% of nursing homes lack adequate staff to properly care for patients. A Health and Human Services Department report found patients in understaffed nursing homes were more likely to suffer from a variety of problems, such as bed sores, malnutrition, weight loss, dehydration, pneumonia, and serious blood born infections. It’s a serious concern that will only increase with time, given that the population of people aged 85 or older is expected to double to 8.9 million by the year 2030.
Signs of abuse and neglect may be (but are not limited to) evidence such as patterns of bruising, unexplained injuries, frequent infections, bedsores, questionable hygiene, appearance of malnutrition, emotional distress, and unsanitary living conditions. Document any such evidence you observe, and bring it to the attention of your attorney. Neglect can be just as harmful in the long run as abuse, leading to additional health problems and possibly death. Nursing home abuse isn’t limited to physical abuse; there can also be emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse, where an elder is demeaned or humiliated in other ways.
Many elders needlessly suffer from nursing home abuse in which they are manipulated, humiliated, or physically harmed by the very people entrusted with providing them with loving and tender care. Instances of physical, sexual and verbal abuse have taken place at the very nursing homes where elders are actually supposed to be well taken care of; unfortunately, cases of nursing home abuse in America and also in New Jersey are rising rather than falling.