NURSING HOME NEGLECT AND ABUSE
A terrible statistic recently generated by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that one in every five visits to a hospital by a patient of a nursing home is the result of abuse. Worse, the same report found that nursing homes frequently fail to report abuse incidents. Family members trust caregivers in facilities to alleviate the suffering of loved ones, and rely on those professionals to do all they can to preserve elderly patients’ quality of life. Sadly, it seems, that level of dedicated effort is too often not being put forth.
There are two – and only two, paths towards improving the situation. The first is reporting through monitoring programs such as the ones administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The second path is through civil court litigation. Individuals who have been hurt through nursing home abuse and neglect, often through their family members, must speak up, allowing legal professionals to bring those matters of wrongdoing and neglect into the courts.
Friends and family members who visit patients need to be alert for signs such as:
- frequent infections
- pressure ulcers (bed sores)
Understand that at a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, there may be no evil intent towards patients. Too often, however, inadequate staffing and high turnover of nurses and aides results in a level of neglect that causes malnutrition, dehydration, and pressure ulcers.
But speak up how? Elderly residents are too often unable to communicate effectively or worse, fear retaliation from staff members. (Sometimes even family members are afraid that complaints will lead to staff members retaliating against their loved ones.) At Ramey & Hailey, we find that people often turn to us for help only after finally realizing that their elderly loved one has been a victim for a long time.
Because our personal injury attorneys have more than 40 years’ experience dealing with medical malpractice and nursing home neglect and abuse, we know how technical and specialized a field healthcare is and we are able to recommend and carry through the appropriate course of action.
When it can be shown that either neglect or abuse of a patient has taken place in a facility, our mission becomes to hold the owners of that facility legally liable. There is the potential to recover damages through a civil lawsuit, and, as important, to stop the abuse and neglect from continuing to happen.