Save Your Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuses; House Them only in the Best Nursing Homes

Save Your Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuses; House Them only in the Best Nursing Homes

Jun 12

Finding the right nursing home for someone you hold dear, one that will surely provide them with the best care possible can be a hard task, especially with all the news about nursing home abuses. All across the United States there are about 16,000 nursing homes with an estimated 3.3 million residents who may be elders, young adults with physical or mental disability or accident victims requiring therapy and rehabilitation – all needing regular nursing care and assistance in their daily needs, such as eating, bathing and toileting.

Despite the large number of residents, many nursing homes, also called convalescent homes or skilled nursing facilities (SNF), actually suffer from lack of registered nurses, nurses’ aides and staff. Many staff members are even insufficiently trained and, with so much work to do and so many things and residents to attend to on a daily basis, some experience burnout and loss of compassion; these and many other reasons result to abuses by many home personnel – physical, psychological and, the worst, sexual abuses.

Records for the past 10 years indicate millions of residents abused either by staff or by their co-residents (some of whom are also forced by the same staff). The most degrading and wicked type of abuse is sexual, though it is the least reported due to the humiliation it makes the victims feel. Forced nudity, fondling, showing of pornographic material to forced penetrative acts constitute this type of abuse. Oftentimes this abuse can be detected through the victim’s sudden silence, unexplained scars, paranoia, anxiety or over-sensitivity to touch.

In an effort to significantly reduce the number of abuses residents experience, US states threaten offenders with a charge of felony. Besides this, and on a more positive note, federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has come up with a list of Best Nursing Homes on the basis of  nurse staffing, quality care and health inspections. Ratings range from 1 to 5 stars and, as of January 2013, out of the total number of nursing homes which allow use of Medicaid or Medicare, the federal government has rated 3,036 nursing homes with 5 stars each. The top twenty states and their number of 5-star nursing homes are:

1. California (with 312 top nursing homes)
2. Pennsylvania (160)
3. Illinois (156)
4. Florida (141)
5. Ohio (137)
6. Texas (130)
7. New York (116)
8. Massachusetts (111)
9. Iowa (103)
10. Wisconsin (100)
11. Michigan (87)
12. Indiana (87)
13. New Jersey (85)
14. Minnesota (79)
15. Missouri (78)
16. Kansas (78)
17. North Carolina (69)
18. Connecticut (64)
19. Virginia (60)
20. Georgia (59)

Though a 5-star rating may be said as not a full guarantee to provision of perfect care and absence of abuse, nursing homes that received such rating from the federal government remain to be the most sensible places where to house someone you love.

Victims of Nursing Home Abuse

Victims of Nursing Home Abuse

Jun 04

Forty years ago, the administration or owners was not held liable for nursing home abuse by the courts because they had no obligation to protect the residents against harm which they could not reasonably foresee. Today, however, the failure to act appropriately following a complaint of nursing home abuse by a staff member, other resident or a visitor, or failure to act in spite of evidence of nursing home abuse can render the nursing home liable for a personal injury claim.

Sexual and other forms of abuse are reprehensible; they are doubly so when it happens to nursing home residents. The most common victims for this kind of abuse are the most vulnerable of people: the old and frail, the physically helpless, and the cognitively impaired. These victims are literally unable to tell anyone about the abuse, or are afraid of the repercussions of doing so. Abusers are quick to take advantage and often repeat the offense over and over again, even carrying on the abuse to other victims.

According to the website of Crowe and Mulvey, the physical and psychological effects of nursing home abuse, especially sexual abuse, are profound. Physical evidence takes the form of injuries to the genitals and rectum resulting in bleeding, scarring and infections. It may also manifest as bruises and cuts all over the victim’s body. An abused resident may also have tears in their undergarments and other clothing. Many victims manifest these effects in agitated behavior, sleep disturbance, avoidance of certain members of the staff or residents, emotional distress, restlessness, and feelings of humiliation and embarrassment.

The liability of nursing homes that fail to carry out the current duty of care for their patients will depend on the availability of evidence and the skill of the nursing home abuse lawyer in preparing the case. If you or someone you know suspect or know about ongoing nursing home abuse, consult with a competent lawyer at once so that the abuse can be stopped sooner rather than later.