Daniel J. Williams, Esq.
The United States has over 15,000 nursing homes, and according to a report, elder abuse occurs at 1 in 3 of them. The study showed that over 5,200 nursing homes were cited for about 9,000 instances of abuse over a two year period.
In over 1,600 cases, nursing home residents experienced serious harm to place the resident in jeopardy of serious injury or death. Yet, despite the horror stories, the nursing home population is only projected to grow significantly.
Some of the most common problems in nursing homes include untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene.
The bottom line is that no one is immune to elder abuse at a nursing home, especially given these numbers. Even the famous novelist Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, has been subject to an alleged case of nursing home abuse – check out our previous blog to learn more on that case: Click Here.
The homes cited by the study for instances of abuse accommodate some 550,000 residents, many of whom live in the 11,000 for-profit nursing homes across the country. Many of those for-profit businesses are receiving federal funds.
The federal government is the biggest contributor of nursing home care, mostly through Medicaid, a joint federal-state health care program for the poor, and Medicare, the federal program for elderly and disabled people. Federal health and safety standards are designed to protect nursing home residents from abuse.
To enforce the standards, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracts with the states to conduct annual inspections of nursing homes. The states also are required to investigate individual abuse complaints. The report's statistics were derived from these state inspections.
The industry has cited money as an issue, in particular in their ability to attract and retain skilled staff. The average hourly wage for nursing assistants ranges from $7 to $9 per hour. Some have argued that non-profit homes, often run by community or religious organizations are better at serving residents and caring for their needs.
However, whether it is a not-for-profit home, a for-profit home, and no matter the age of your loved one, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. And while nursing home care has improved over the years, as this report shows, instances of atrocious abuse still occur and are prevalent.
Daniel J. Williams is an Elder Abuse Attorney with Fausone Bohn, LLP. The firm has former prosecutors and experienced attorneys who can help you and your family right the wrongs done to your loved one, whether it be nursing home abuse or financial exploitation. Call the Metro Detroit Elder Abuse attorneys today, at (248) 468-4536, or visit us online at www.fb-firm.com.