Horrendous Abuse In Nursing Homes Documented Says New Study
Sacramento, CA (Law Firm Newswire) April 10, 2014 - Serious sexual, physical, verbal and psychological abuse is revealed in a recent study released by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee.
“The findings in this committee’s report are depressing,” indicates respected Sacramento nursing home abuse lawyer Deborah Barron. “It documents that 30 percent of the studied 5,283 nursing homes were sanctioned for close to 9,000 occurrences of abuse between January 1999 to January 2001.” The percentage of nursing facilities cited for violations has increased every year since 1996.
The report detailed improper hygiene and sanitation issues, dehydration, untreated bedsores, malnutrition, preventable accidents and incompetent, inadequate medical care. Violations such as this caused harm to a great number of elderly residents. In fact, in 1,601 cases, the abuse was so severe, it placed a senior in jeopardy of serious harm or death. The minority leader that headed up the study indicated the findings were shocking.
On the other side of the fence, others in the nursing home care industry feel such reports may be misleading and inflate the overall numbers due to over-reporting every incident in a nursing home, even resident-to-resident quarrels or physical altercations. Some feel nursing home facilities are doing the best job they are able to do in difficult circumstances.
“Whatever the reasons,” says Barron, “elder abuse of ‘any’ kind is not acceptable. This report even detailed cases where staff were the perpetrators of sexual and physical abuse, or did not act to protect their charges from abuse by other residents. It documented kicking, punching, slapping, and choking resulting in lacerations, contusions, concussions, and fractured bones.”
More horrific episodes ranged from a personal aide hitting an elderly woman in the face and breaking her nose to a male attendant bribing a mentally challenged patient to attack another resident so he could watch the altercation.
The homes surveyed by the study care for, on average, 550,000 patients. Across the U.S. at least 1.6 million live in 17,000 homes. Of those 17,000 nursing homes, 11,000 are for-profit corporations. Despite the fact that annual inspections are conducted every year, the rate of abuse has not declined.
The homes themselves say there are issues with the residents because they cannot recruit and keep quality staff with the requisite skills to care for the ill and elderly. “This is not a good excuse,” points out Barron, “and in fact, it is not even a good reason to explain the increasing levels of abuse in care facilities for the elderly. Our seniors have a right to expect to be safe and cared for with respect and dignity, not warehoused and deal with violence on a daily basis.”
Low pay, insufficient state funding and low Medicare funding are other reasons for poor quality staffing in nursing homes. If the various states and federal government spent an appropriate amount of money to care for seniors, their risk of paying out on a personal injury nursing home abuse lawsuit would decline accordingly. “While introducing new legislation, fines and disclosure rules is nice, it does nothing to solve the root of the problem of elder abuse,” adds Barron. “If you think a relative is being abused in a care home, call me. It must be stopped.”
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