Nursing Home Neglect FAQ

Nursing Home Abuse Support Group is for those who have suffered nursing home neglect or abuse or have loved ones that have suffered due to negligence in nursing homes.


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Forms of Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse:

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History of Nursing Home Regulations

In 1965 Medicare and Medicaid came into existence and with it came federal regulation of nursing homes. Nursing homes that qualify and voluntarily elect Medicare and Medicaid to their facility must follow a set of guidelines put forth by federal standards.

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Nursing Home Reform Act

The nursing home facilities that receive federal funds are required to comply with the Nursing Home Reform Act.

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How to Choose a Nursing Home

When choosing a nursing home it is a good idea to allow your loved one to have a large role in deciding which nursing home facility will best suit their needs. If possible, picking a nursing home that is located near family and friends will allow visitations to be more frequent.

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NURSING HOME NEGLECT FAQ
 

Nursing Home Neglect

What are the causes of nursing home neglect and abuse?
Nursing home neglect and abuse has been attributed to under qualified and insufficient staff. When staff is not properly trained or overworked because there are too few workers, the result can be deadly. Some instances of nursing home neglect and abuse are acts of frustration. Nursing home staff has been viewed as being “under-valued”. Many nursing home workers do not have health insurance themselves and almost none have pensions.

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What are the different types of nursing home neglect and abuse?
-Mental Abuse: fear, agitation, hesitancy, depression, withdrawal, sudden behavior changes, unusual behavior patterns, unwillingness to communicate, disorientation, confusion, unjustified isolation, rude, humiliating, derogatory comments by staff, specific complaints by residents

-Physical Abuse: wounds, cuts, abrasions, burns, bruises, welts, swelling, broken bones, sudden, inexplicable weight loss, unexplained/hidden injuries, unwarranted restraints (either physical or chemical), specific complaints by residents

-Neglect: bed sores (decubitus ulcers), unsanitary environment, malnutrition, dehydration, smells of urine and/or feces, unkempt appearance, poor personal hygiene, untreated medical condition, specific complaints by residents

-Exploitation/Financial Abuse: sudden, unjustified selling of property, missing/stolen money or property, radical changes in handling personal/financial affairs, specific complaints by residents

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What are signs that may indicate neglect or abuse is present?
If any of the following are present it should be immediately investigated.

-Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures in various stages of healing

-Abrupt changes in will or other financial documents

-Staff not allowing resident to be alone with visitor

-Resident being kept in an over-medicated state

-Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections; vaginal or anal bleeding; torn, stained, or bloody underclothing

-Sudden changes in behavior

-Staff refusing to allow visitors to see resident or delays in allowing visitors to see resident

-Loss of resident's possessions

-Bedsores or frozen joints

-Sudden large withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in banking practices

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How often does nursing home neglect and abuse occur?
There are more than 1.6 million Americans living in over 16,000 nursing homes across the U.S. Nursing home neglect or abuse occurs far too often, and affects a large number of people. A 1998 study conducted by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) concluded that more than half of the suspicious deaths studied in nursing homes were probably due to neglect, including malnutrition and dehydration. The study also found that about 1 in 3 California nursing homes had been cited by state inspectors for “serious or potentially life-threatening care problems” that are likely to be found across the nation. Unreported instances of abuse must also be taken under consideration.

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How can I ensure choosing a safe nursing home?
There is no way to guarantee the nursing home chosen is entirely safe, but there are certain aspects that should be looked at and signs that can indicate how well the facility treats the nursing home residents. Doing your homework and spending time at the individual facilities by visiting them at different times can help ease any doubt or fear. A few questions and tips include:

-Are the home and the current administrator licensed?

-Does the home conduct background checks on all staff?

-Does the home have special services units for specific resident needs?

-Does the home have nursing home neglect and abuse prevention training?

-The nursing home and its administrator should be licensed by the State to operate.

-Do the nursing home’s procedures to screen potential employees for a history of abuse meet your State’s requirements?

-Some nursing homes have special service units like rehabilitation, Alzheimer's, and hospice, which may be important depending on the individual needs of your loved one.

-Do the nursing home’s training programs educate employees about how to recognize resident abuse and neglect, how to deal with aggressive or difficult residents, and how to deal with the stress of caring for so many needs? Are there clear procedures to identify events or trends that might lead to abuse and neglect, and on how to investigate, report, and resolve your complaints?

-Are there policies or procedures to safeguard resident possessions?

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If I suspect nursing home neglect or abuse what can I do?
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home nelgect or abuse please contact us. Our nursing home abuse attorneys can provide sound legal counsel and answer any questions you may have regarding your legal rights. If you suspect that nursing home neglect or abuse may be present, immediate action can save any further tragedies from happening. The nursing home should be alerted of any fears you may have so that an investigation can begin, and if problems do not cease government assistance and legal assistance is available. Contacting your state attorney general’s office to report abuse and using private attorneys can bring the matter to light and to justice.

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Nursing Home Abuse Recent News Stories

March 15, 2002
According to the Senate committee on aging, nursing home abuse is up 20% from last year. Instances of nursing home abuse can include neglect, as a Michigan nursing home resident died after wandering off outside and froze to death.

(MSNBC)
March 7, 2002
The use of ‘granny cams’, video surveillance cameras that families use to watch over their loved ones in nursing homes, are receiving the attention of lawmakers. At a time when incidents of nursing home abuse is on the rise a ‘granny cam’ could help eliminate abuse and neglect if nursing home staff knows they are constantly being watched. While the ‘granny cams’ seem to have the support of families, the nursing home industry does not support enacting a new bill to allow them. The nursing home facilities claim it is added stress on the workers, as well as driving up liability insurance premiums.

(Wall Street Journal)