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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