When the time comes when our loved ones can no longer take care of themselves, our only choice may be to put them in a nursing home or long-term care facility. We would expect that nursing home staff would do their best to care for our family members in a competent and compassionate manner, but that is not always the case.
Nursing home abuse is all too common in California. Nationally, elderly patients are abused at 1 in 3 nursing homes. During one two-year period, there were nearly 9,000 instances of abuse. Of those, 1,601 patients sustained a severe injury or death.
Many of the issues involve inadequate medical care, bedsores, sanitation and hygiene issues, dehydration, malnutrition, and accidents. Many nursing home patients also suffer from emotional and sexual abuse. In 2009, 13 percent of complaints to the California Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman involved abuse or neglect. This is more than the double the national rate of 5 percent. These statistics highlight a huge problem in California nursing homes.
This problem will likely worsen as the number of California residents who will require nursing home care is expected to double between 2010 and 2030. There are currently 1,300 nursing homes in California which house 110,000 residents.
Identifying Nursing Home Abuse
While family members may not be able to provide care for their loved ones, they do have a responsibility to ensure that their family members are receiving quality care. Even though you can’t be in the facility monitoring its staff 24/7, you can monitor your loved one and look for signs of abuse.
Symptoms of Nursing Home Negligence include:
- Sudden bruises and injuries
- Change in normal behavior
- Withdrawal from family members
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Trauma around the genital area
- Dirty bedding or clothing
- Deteriorating hygiene
- Weight loss
- Extreme hunger or thirst
When choosing a facility make sure to visit the facility and be on the lookout for signs of understaffing. A lack of nurses can lead to stress and fatigue, which can cause errors to occur. When visiting a nursing home, note how your loved one interacts with staff. Is he or she afraid of the nurses? If so, this could be a sign that abuse is taking place.
What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?
You will want to make sure that your loved one is safe. If circumstances warrant it, you should immediately remove your loved one from the facility and seek medical treatment for his or her injuries. Next, you should notify state regulatory authorities of the incident(s) of abuse.
Lastly, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Nadrich & Cohen, LLP. We will provide a free and confidential consultation to see if we can help your loved one make a claim for his or her injuries. Call now.