More than 3.5 million people reside in nursing homes and the number is quickly rising. Unfortunately, nursing home mistreatment can happen to any patient. Up to 44% of nursing home patients have reported they’ve been a victim of nursing home neglect and 95% said they’ve witnessed neglect. Nursing home negligence is also costly; resulting medical expenses are estimated to add over $5.3 billion to the nation’s yearly health expenditures.
A nursing home may be understaffed, undertrained and have workers may feel they are underpaid to work in this kind of environment. Studies have shown this setting can lead to carelessness, negligence and sometimes, abuse.
If you believe a loved one is a victim of nursing home negligence or abuse, you should immediately contact the management and seek medical treatment. You can also file a complaint with your state’s Department of Health, then contact an attorney at Cellino & Barnes who is trained to handle these types of cases.
This section will explain the types of mistreatment most often associated with nursing home negligence and what you can do to identify negligence before a resident is seriously harmed.
Types of Mistreatment
Abuse & Neglect
- Falls and Fractures – One of the most common injuries in long-term care facilities are falls. A nursing home is responsible for making a safe environment for all patients but many times that responsibility is overlooked.
- Bedsores – these are the most common type of nursing home injury. Bedsores are so common, it’s estimated that 1 in 10 patients has a bedsore. Although this injury is common, it is also easily prevented with proper care and treatment. However, if bedsores are not treated properly, they can become very serious and in some cases deadly.
- Assault, Battery or Other Violent Crime – Violence in a nursing home is illegal in most cases. If you suspect a patient has been physically abused in a nursing home, contact the local authorities immediately.
- Lack of Care – Nursing home patients are often admitted to long-term care facilities because they require a certain amount of help and care from others. When this care is not delivered, a patient may unjustly suffer. The nursing home staff is also responsible for providing the appropriate amount of prescribed medication to patients.
- Verbal Abuse – Threats of violence or harm can be considered abusive behaviors and should immediately be reported.
- Malnutrition – this is not just the lacking of nutrients; patients can also have too much of a given nutrient, or unproportioned meals. Every patient must be properly fed and cared for; and that includes a balanced diet. Nursing home staffs must be trained to feed their patients accordingly but this training can sometimes be neglected.
- Diabetic care – Patients with diabetes can sometimes get high blood-glucose levels, which can affect the body’s ability to make insulin. Diabetes is a common disease and requires special care in nursing homes to ensure a patient’s health and safety.
- Dehydration – If a patient is not given the proper amount of fluids and water on a regular basis, dehydration can occur within hours.
- Sepsis – a type of infection which causes inflammation throughout the body. A patient can enter septic shock, which can be fatal.
- Poor Hygiene – Nursing home staff members should be trained to make sure the facility and its patients are clean and sanitary. Bedrooms and bathrooms in particular must be cleaned regularly and meet specific sanitary guidelines. Each nursing home should have a cleaning schedule.
- Infections – Most infections are preventable with proper care but these can sometimes be misdiagnosed or ignored by nursing home staff. Infections can deteriorate a patient’s health and can sometimes have deadly consequences.
- Wrong medication – Serious and permanent injuries may result from receiving improper medication.
If a loved one has experienced any of these conditions while in a nursing home, Contact Cellino & Barnes for a free consultation.
- Wrongful death can be caused by a variety of reasons: dehydration, malnutrition, abuse, sepsis, and even misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose a condition. If a loved one has wrongfully died in a nursing home, Contact Cellino & Barnes immediately for a free consultation.
Signs of Mistreatment
There could be several warning signs of physical abuse, verbal abuse and neglect at a nursing home including:
- Injuries requiring emergency treatment
- Heavily medicated
- A nursing home resident harming another resident
- Patients are frequently sick
- Illnesses are not reported to physicians, families
- Any broken bones, including a hip
- Unexplained injuries
- Sudden behavioral changes
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Unsanitary conditions
- Patient is reluctant to speak in front of staff members
If you notice any of these warning signs, Contact Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.