Addressing Nursing Home Care Issues
As the “Baby Boomer” generation ages and as individuals continue to live longer due to advances in the medical field, the number of individuals who will need to spend extended time in a nursing home is likely to rise. This will also increase the need for nursing homes and individuals to staff those homes. However, there is a lack of experienced individuals to fill those positions, and with inexperience and understaffing comes a decline in the quality of care.
Based on recent surveys, the numbers indicate there is already a lack of experienced staff to care for current nursing homes residents. Over 40 percent of nursing home residents reported being subjected to abuse at the hands of nursing home employees and over 90 percent report that either they have been neglected by staff or observed someone else being neglected by staff.
These numbers are staggering. The fact that nearly everyone residing in nursing home has suffered some sort of maltreatment at the hands of those charged to protect and care for them is alarming.
Every nursing home resident has rights guaranteed to them and protected by law, including the right to be treated with dignity and respect. To ensure current and future residents can avoid abuses and neglectful treatment, families of residents must hold the nursing homes and their staff accountable. If you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of nursing home staff, there are certain measures you can take to stop it.
First, make your displeasure clear about the situation you or your loved one is in. Making the nursing home administration aware of the situation may be enough to resolve any problems. If no one is aware of what is going on, the situation is unlikely to change.
Another step that families can take is to file a report through the state’s ombudsman program. If the ombudsman investigates and substantiates these complaints, they can be escalated for further investigation and punishment, if appropriate. The states and the federal government could withhold payments and force compliance by institutions found in violation of care standards.
A final resource for stopping nursing home abuse and neglect is to consult with an attorney experienced in dealing with these issues. These attorneys will have the necessary knowledge of relevant injury laws to defend your rights or the rights of your loved one. If the abuse or neglect led to a physical or mental decline, or caused the resident pain and suffering, it may be possible to seek monetary damages from the nursing home.
There are options available to you if you are dealing with a nursing home abuse or neglect situation. It is not enough to hope that things will improve. Instead, seek to enforce your rights as soon as possible.