Nursing home abuse or neglect is a tragic reality facing many well-meaning American families that have entrusted nursing home facilities with the care of their elder or disabled loved ones. This neglect can often be attributed to the willingness of too many nursing home companies to maximize their profits at the expense of their patients’ safety. Despite the fact that by law, these nursing homes must take steps to attain or maintain the “highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident,” too many of these residents are the victims of neglect or abuse by these facilities and/or their employees.
According to figures from the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 1.5 million people are living in nursing or assisted living facilities with 90% of these being understaffed and not able to adequately meet the basic care requirements of their residents. The consequences of this failure to provide even basic care can be devastating –resulting in residents who may be left unattended for long periods of time, malnourished, dehydrated, suffering painful bedsores, emotional distress, and premature death.
Unfortunately, efforts to protect our elderly and infirm are often complicated by the fact that these negligent acts are either underreported or simply not reported at all. Even in instances where regulators actually have the opportunity to levy a fine against the nursing home chain, too often the maximum fines which may be levied are insufficient to pose any reasonable deterrence for future misconduct. This unfortunately has lead to a climate in which nursing home facilities are willing to gamble that they will suffer no serious consequences for providing insufficient and inadequately trained staff to properly care for patients in an effort to squeeze more profit from their bottom lines.
Family members with loved ones who are residents of nursing homes must never take the resident’s care for granted and assume adequate protections are in place. The nursing home resident’s only protection may be the family member’s diligence in reporting any perceived problems. If you would like for our firm to assist you in holding a nursing home accountable for their actions, please contact our office.
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