The decision to find care through a nursing home for a loved one can be a very difficult one. Much thought and planning go into finding an assisted living facility that will provide good care for your family member. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse due to improper training, lack of supervision and other factors can happen. When it does, nursing home residents may suffer injuries and sometimes even death.

Elder abuse, or dependent adult abuse, is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “any abuse and neglect of persons age 60 and older by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust.”

Elder abuse exists in many forms and it’s not always clear whether or not it’s taking place. Abuse can be in the form of physical, psychological, emotional, sexual and financial. Victims are often elderly and vulnerable.  According to the National Elder Abuse Incident Study, only 16% of elder abuse cases are even reported. In another alarming statistic, results from a study done by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, one out of three nursing homes across the country has been cited for abuse or other infractions.

If you have a family member in need of care, it’s always advisable to visit a few nursing homes in your search, along with other family members if possible. At these visits, the following activities are recommended:

  • Observe the activities offered to residents
  • Talk to staff members and family members of other residents
  • Taste the food
  • Listen to sounds you hear and especially listen to how caregivers respond to patients.
  • Visit at least twice and make one of the visits during an off time when staffing might be low
  • Watch for handrails in bathrooms and call buttons near showers
  • Note if the residents look clean and well groomed

Questions to ask a facility, especially if your family member suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

  1. Is the facility Medicare and Medicaid certified?
  2. Has the license ever been revoked?
  3. Does the facility do background checks on staff?
  4. Does your facility have a separate Alzheimer’s unit?
  5. What level of care does the community provide?
  6. What is the ratio of residents to staff?
  7. What type of training has the staff received?
  8. What level of personal assistance can residents expect?
  9. How are emergencies handled?
  10. Is the community secured?
  11. How often is housekeeping and laundry provided?
  12. Is transportation to medical appointments provided?

Considering the vulnerability of many nursing home patients, consequences of neglect or abuse can be severe. It’s imperative that you take the steps to ensure your loved one in an assisted living facility is receiving adequate care.

If you believe someone you love has been injured or even died due to nursing home malpractice, it’s important to discuss your case with an experienced nursing home malpractice attorney right away.

Hinman and Peck, P.C specializes in such cases and is happy to speak with any family member who may have concerns.  To simply talk to an attorney or to seek a FREE consultation, call our office at at (877) 462-9732.

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