Every year nursing home abuse makes seniors feel ruined.
Whether it be emotionally, physically, or financially, elder abuse comes in many forms.
Culprits of this type of abuse can be other residents, staff, or even family members.
In most cases, abusers aren’t strangers to the victim.
Residents put their trust in their facility yet nursing homes don’t always provide the safest environments that residents expect.
Due to overcrowding, undertrained staff, and budget issues, nursing facilities can have a hard time protecting residents.
So how did nursing homes get this way?
Let’s dive into the what, why, and how, on an issue that’s underreported, and far too often swept under the rug.
There are a number of different factors that lead to abuse. Many of them stem from problems with employees or the profit-minded corporations who are running these facilities. Common reasons for nursing home abuse include a lack of supervision, burnout, greed, and more.
Let’s dive into the 5 main causes of nursing home abuse.
When residents aren’t being watched closely, they can be extremely vulnerable. This is because the elderly are more vulnerable in general…
(They’re often physically weaker, have many dependencies, and sometimes are no longer fit to take care of themselves).
Therefore, this can make staff or family members feel like they have power over residents. Often times that power can be used in nefarious ways and create an abusive relationship.
Since many assisted living facilities are underfunded, staff members are often overworked. After working long hours, dealing with residents and being on their feet all day, staff members may take it out on the residents.
This can lead to a staff member lashing out.
(Either verbally or physically).
The elderly typically have a lot of cash on hand because they have saved up all of their lives for retirement. Staff members, family members, or friends can try and con their way into some of that money for their own gain.
The elderly are seen as easier to convince and manipulate, so financial abuse is one of the most rampant forms of elder abuse out there.
Corporations that run multiple nursing homes only care about maximizing profits that contribute to their bottom line. This can lead to a number of problems, such as doing the wrong things in order to cut costs.
This cost-cutting can be in the form of:
Regardless of the cause of nursing home abuse, there is no excuse for it.
Cases of elder abuse can come in many different forms and can vary in terms of the value of a lawsuit.
Here are some documented case examples:
According to Boller & Vaughan the Wisconsin Department of Health Services investigated Maplewood of Sauk Prairie in Sauk City after a resident told staff that another resident had touched her inappropriately.
It was found that an employee of the facility was a registered sex offender and had abused 3 other residents at the facility.
Though many were aware of his background…
It didn’t prevent him from committing these crimes. The facility nursing director and administrator claimed ignorance, that they didn’t know of the abuser’s status as a sex offender.
It was later found that the executive team at this facility would intimidate employees to ensure they didn’t talk to investigators.
A male resident at an assisted living facility in Illinois was forced to share a room with a younger resident who was prone to violence. After numerous complaints the 74-year-old resident was ignored and forced to share this room. One night the man died after being attacked and beaten.
The family sued the facility for damages and ended up receiving $1.3 million dollars in damages from a wrongful death lawsuit.
A skilled nursing facility in southern Las Vegas was severely understaffed due to budget cuts. With many residents to attend to, the facility could not keep up with their needs.
This led to several cases of elder neglect to occur at this nursing home.
One woman, who could not move on her own, was left by herself for over 36 hours. The woman had not eaten and had gone to the bathroom on herself repeatedly.
At the same facility, a 62-year-old male resident with diabetes was given the wrong medication. This led to severe health issues and to the resident being hospitalized for over a week.
The families of these victims have sued for damages and lawsuits are currently ongoing.
Abuse in care homes happens far too often, which is why there is a stigma against care homes and their facilities. Abuse often occurs due to a lack of staff, or poorly trained staff, which makes an already vulnerable population even more vulnerable to abuse.
The purpose of these facilities is to provide patients the help they need when they are no longer fit to care for themselves.
Care facilities are usually comprised of elderly patients but can also contain younger patients who suffer from spine or brain injuries as well.
The more popular reasons for abuse surrounds staff and family members, but often times abuse can happen indirectly, at higher levels of power.
Because property management/owners are the ones who set the rules, and those rules can make it either easy or difficult for abusers to prey on residents.
Sometimes abuse can occur simply due to a lack of consequences.
Even when reported, cases of nursing home abuse can go uninvestigated or unpunished by local and state authorities.
Here are 2 shocking examples:
In Florida a 2018 study conducted by reporters at Naples Daily News looked into 43 cases of nursing home deaths. Of these cases, most of them had a fine for less than $100,000, which to a major facility is a mere slap on the wrist.
An ABC report found that 9 out of 10 facility complaints in Philadelphia were dismissed by the state’s department of health from 2012 – 2014.
The word nursing home can create a bleak vision of a dark holding cell for seniors. At the end of the day, the features, function, and look of a nursing home can vary across the board.
In terms of look and feel, nursing homes can be placed in the following two categories:
Traditional nursing home:
These can seem very clinical. This brings up an image of a dull place, with fluorescent lighting and a bleached atmosphere. These types of homes can feel like a hospital room, though it contains the skilled nursing care that your loved one may need.
Progressive nursing home:
These can be assisted living facilities, or retirement communities. Some nursing facilities are not meant to be seen as the “end” of one’s life but instead a transition to the next phase of life. These can involve nursing homes that are full of opportunities for engagement, community, and activity to ensure quality of life, over simply performing a function.
There are a few ways to report a case of nursing home abuse:
If you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect you may be eligible for compensation. Get in touch with a lawyer to help walk you through the legal process and help determine whether you have a case for a lawsuit.
Get your free consultation by submitting your information here or give us a call at (855) 344 – 1017.