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The Common Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing homes or convalescent homes are places for people who do not need to be in a hospital, but cannot be cared for at home. Nursing homes should have a registered nurse, a licensed nurse and trained nursing aides who are expected to attain and maintain the highest possible level of physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of all residents.

In February 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded about 15,700 nursing home facilities in the U.S. and an estimated 1.4 million residents. Residents include: elders, usually 65 years old or older; individuals who, because of an illness (such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s), require extra care and assistance; and, those needing rehabilitation therapies.

Despite promises and guarantee of provision of quality care and medical attention to residents, lack of workers and qualified nurses, as well as putting on duty untrained aides or aides who do not know how to properly attend and respond to the needs of the residents, an actual problem in about 90% of all nursing home facilities, result instead to stressed and overworked personnel, the major reason why the needs of thousands of residents are neglected.

Nursing home negligence or elder neglect is failure on the part of personnel to provide a resident proper medical, physical, or emotional attention. This failure can end up in a dangerous situation, especially if the resident has a serious health condition or is not able to care for himself/herself.

Some of the most common signs of neglect in nursing homes, as listed in the website of the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, include:

  • Bedsores and pressure ulcers
  • Injuries from nursing home slip and falls
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Emotional withdrawal by the elder
  • Unusual changes in behavior
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Lack of friendly interaction with nursing home staff or residents

Much nursing home neglect, according to said law firm, goes unreported because of residents’ fears of retaliation from staff. Left unaddressed, nursing home neglect carries an increased risk of illness, death, injury, and trauma for elders.

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Responding to Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse has been on the rise in the past years, and if your parent or other aged relative seems to suffer from any form of nursing home negligence or abuse, it would be time to call for legal actions and representation. According to the Federal nursing home regulations, nursing home negligence and abuse qualify as removing the “…right of the resident freedom from verbal, mental, sexual, and physical abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion.”

Because most residents of a nursing home are not able to take care of themselves, it is the responsibility of the caretakers to ensure that the needs of the residents are provided. There are a variety of ways that nursing home negligence can happen, and the most obvious signs are the physical ones that include bed sores, malnutrition, bad hygiene, unexplained fractures, dehydration, and many others.  Sedation, especially excessive sedation, is also a form of nursing home negligence.

Criminal charges can be filed following nursing home neglect. In a civil suit, such as a personal injury lawsuit, the family of the resident will be the one who will press the charges; but on cases where criminal charges are pressed, the prosecution will be the one who will represent the State and the victim and family will be called to testify against the defendant(s) responsible for the abuse and neglect. Testifying on the court can be daunting, but it is important to stick to the honest truth regarding the nursing home negligence that resulted to the physical and emotional trauma that the resident has suffered.

Whether the State files for criminal charges regarding any nursing home abuse or negligence, anyone who believes their elderly family member is suffering from nursing home abuse have the right to file a civil lawsuit through a personal injury claim against the persons involved in the abuse and neglect. In criminal charges, the verdict will be based on unreasonable doubt, while civil cases will depend on the weight of the evidence. Statues of limitations are applicable in personal injury and wrongful death, therefore finding the help of an attorney would ensure that charges will be filed properly and in time.

Después del Chino Mandarín, español es uno de los lenguajes más hablados alrededor del mundo. Aun así, habiendo tantas personas hablando este idioma, es increíble la falta de servicios legales que otorgan ayuda en español, especialmente en los Estados Unidos donde inmigrantes de habla hispana son la mayoría. Para poder proteger los derechos legales de personas de habla hispana, aquí hay unos enlaces que pueden ofrecer ayuda en caso de asuntos legales que se puedan llegar a encontrar y que aseguran la protección de sus derechos.

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