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Preventing Nursing Home Abuse

Preventing Nursing Home Abuse

Each year, more and more people have to make the decision to place a loved one into a nursing home. In most cases, the loved one’s condition has deteriorated to a point where the family can no longer care for them at home. They then try to find a good nursing home to take care of their loved one’s needs, and while many are able to find good ones, others are not as lucky. Approximately 35,000 elderly people die each year in nursing homes because of neglect and/or abuse. The distraught loved ones often blame themselves for making a bad decision in care, but in the majority of cases it is the operator of the nursing home which is at fault.

One of the obligations that nursing homes have is to hire enough staff to cover the needs of the patients according to the plans that were made. According to the Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes are required to “provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each nursing home resident in accordance with a written plan of care.” This helps to ensure that your loved one gets all the care that they need while under the nursing home’s care.

Unfortunately, there are nursing homes out there that will ignore this responsibility. The patients under their care are neglected, and suffer because of it. This may mean that they are not helped to the toilet, bed ridden patients are not properly turned, lack of nutrition, dehydration, misuse of medications, and not being bathed properly, as well as other issues. This neglect may be intentional or unintentional, but ultimately causes injury and potential death.

There are several forms of intentional abuse, including emotional, financial, psychological, sexual, verbal, and physical abuse. Sexual abuse can be considered any unwanted sexual contact, forced nudity, or photography that is inappropriate.

Physical abuse can be battery, the use of restraints beyond what is medically necessary and to the point of even being dangerous to the patient, use of drugs that are not needed, or refusing to give the patient the aid that they need.

Emotional abuse, which can also be considered psychological or mental abuse, can be verbal harassment, ignoring the resident, and isolating the resident from friend and family that either come to visit or live in the nursing home.

These are the main forms of abuse; however there are plenty of issues not discussed here. If you feel that a loved one is a victim of abuse, speaking with a lawyer can help you find out if you have any legal grounds.

Any time that your loved one suffers any trauma, no matter the type, it is in your best interest to find a lawyer that specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect. Time is of the essence, since the statute of limitations can prevent you from filing old complaints, so you will want to file a suit as soon as possible. By working to see that those who abuse and neglect the elderly are punished, you can make nursing homes safer for all the residents who live there.

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