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When trusting a loved one’s well-being to a nursing home, you should be able to rest assured that they are in good hands. However, there are often situations where a nursing home provides substandard care or neglectful treatment to its residents. Examples of nursing home neglect can range from malnutrition to actual physical abuse of the elderly person.
According to federal nursing home regulations, “the resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion.” These regulations define nursing home abuse and neglect as:
Neglect: A failure, intentional or not, to provide a person with the care and services necessary to ensure freedom from harm or pain; a failure to react to a potentially dangerous situation resulting in resident harm or anxiety.
Abuse: An intentional infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care or service deprivation or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental anguish.
Falls are a serious issue in nursing homes. According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 1800 adults die every year from fall-related injuries in nursing homes. Some of these falls are not preventable, and are an unfortunate symptom of aging and poor health. However, many of these falls could be prevented with proper precautionary action. According to the CDC, environmental hazards cause up to 27% of falls in nursing homes. These hazards include:
Bedsores are a common ailment suffered by nursing home residents. Bedsores are often caused from an individual staying in one position for too long. The lack of mobility suffered by many elderly residents makes shifting positions difficult or impossible without assistance. Too often, nursing home staff neglect to address this need to reposition residents at risk for developing bedsores.
Bedsores are a problem that need to be addressed immediately when discovered. They can range from small lesions, to very large open wounds. Serious bedsores can even result in death.
There are a variety of situations that lead to sexual abuse in nursing homes. This type of abuse can be devastating both physically and emotionally. Cognitively impaired patients are especially at risk for this type of abuse. Often times, a patient will be unable to communicate the abuse or will be too embarrassed or uncomfortable to do so. Signs of sexual abuse include:
Physically abusive staff are a danger to nursing home residents. Physical abuse can take a variety of forms. These include the actual infliction of abuse at the hands of nursing home staff, inappropriate use of restraints, or other types of neglect such as not providing adequate meals leading to physical symptoms of malnutrition. Signs of abuse include:
Improper administration of medication is a common and dangerous problem in nursing homes. This can happen for a variety of reasons, some accidental and some intentional. Whether or not the misadministration was intentional, it can lead to serious health complications for the affected residents. Some examples of improper administration of medication include: