Even though there are tens of thousands of complaints of abuse, gross neglect, and exploitation each year, experts estimate that only one in 14 such incidents at nursing homes are ever reported to authorities. Why? Sometimes the victims are either physically or verbally intimidated into staying silent. They may fear that they will make the problem worse by angering their caregivers. Some nursing home patients are simply incapable of telling someone about the abuse because they suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or a condition which affects their ability to communicate.
Let our Indiana nursing home lawyers protect your family.
In 2008, there were 3.2 million people in the United States living in nursing homes; more than 900,000 resided in an assisted living facility, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). With the aging of our population, these numbers are going to be on the rise. And so, unfortunately, are instances of nursing home abuse. Already, the NCEA reports that there are more than 20,000 complaints of abuse each year from residents of facilities which provide care to sick and vulnerable seniors.
When something goes wrong, we are left to wonder.
Why? Why would a healthcare worker abuse or injure someone in their care, especially someone who may be confused and helpless? Sometimes nursing homes fail to adequately screen their employees. A 2011 report released by the Department of Health and Human Services contains the shocking statistic that more than 90% of U.S. nursing homes employ one or more people who have been convicted of a crime. Another factor which could lead to abusive behavior on the part of caregivers is the lack of sufficient staffing. Or it may be that the aides have not received specialized training in how to care for patients who may be resistant or combative.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you should be aware of the signs of elder abuse. Some of the things to look for include:
- Open wounds, cuts, bruises or welts
- Frequent falls
- Significant weight loss
- Persistent odor of urine or feces
- Torn clothing
- Broken or missing personal items
- Complaints from other residents about being slapped or mistreated
- Emotional states of extreme agitation – or unusual withdrawal
- Unusual and new behavior, such as sucking, biting or rocking
- Bruises around legs or arms that suggest the use of restraints
- Poor hygiene, including lack of dental care
- Disorientation or depression.
Facilities that discourage visitors from meeting alone with the resident may be hiding something. Keep your eyes and ears open.
When others breach their duty, we keep ours.
Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Indiana are part of a larger chain. They have a full-time legal department and resources to routinely dispute abuse and neglect claims. Too often, they are focused on shareholder profits rather than patient safety.
At McNeely Stephenson we will work with you to hold the abusers accountable for the pain and suffering they cause. Your elderly loved ones deserve to live in safety and dignity. A lawsuit against an Indiana nursing home won’t undo what has already been done, but it can recover the large sums of money you have paid the negligent facility and any medical expenses caused by the abuse.
A Closer Look: Nursing Home Injuries in Indiana
Did you know that Indiana ranks as the 5th worst state for long term care facilities performance and care? Even though Indiana has 46% more nursing home beds than other states, low occupancy rates in care facilities can actually lead to more adverse health events.
Seventy percent (70%) of Indiana Hoosiers will rely on long-term care during their lifetime – isn’t it time we made an improved effort to decrease the injuries, accidents and neglect that happens in nursing homes? 37% of all adverse events in Indiana nursing homes are linked to poor quality of care.