A report published by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General revealed some disturbing statistics about elder abuse in nursing homes. While it noted cases of abuse and neglect in nursing homes in 33 states, California came out looking particularly bad. Of all 50 states, only Illinois had more nursing home abuse than California. Worst of all, the report showed that a huge number of elder abuse cases nationwide go unreported. If you think that your relative has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, it is probably not just in your imagination. You should contact a personal injury lawyer who deals with cases of elder abuse.
Highlights of the Report
Auditors from the Department from Health and Human Services reviewed hospital records from 2015 and 2016 and found 134 cases of hospital emergency room visits related to abuse and neglect in nursing homes. These are some key findings from the report.
- Of the 33 states in which nursing home abuse cases were documented, 17 cases were in Illinois, while 13 were in California.
- 25% of the nursing home abuse-related illnesses and injuries treated in the emergency room were not reported to law enforcement as nursing home abuse incidents before the patients arrived in the emergency room.
- Most of the unreported cases (80%) involved sexual abuse of nursing home patients.
How to Recognize the Signs of Elder Abuse
The Department of Health and Human Services report only included data about elder abuse cases that resulted in emergency room visits. In all likelihood, it represents only the tip of the iceberg of unreported nursing home abuse. You might be the first person to notice that a nursing home is making your elderly relative’s health worse. These are some signs to look for.
- If your elderly relative says that she is being treated badly in the nursing home, even if she is not specific about the problem, take her seriously and do not assume that she is just being grumpy. Investigate further and look for evidence that corroborates her complaints.
- Even in people with osteoporosis, bone fractures can be a sign of abuse or neglect. The fractures might be the result of falls rather than major trauma, but they could indicate that the nursing home is not doing enough to prevent falls.
- Infections can be a sign of neglect or understaffing. When nursing homes are understaffed, one of the first ways in which they tend to cut corners is with infection control procedures such as how often staff members wash their hands, change their gloves, or sterilize equipment.
- Bedsores or unexplained weight loss could also be signs of neglect.
Contact Case Barnett About Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Nursing home abuse and neglect is probably even more prevalent than current statistics show. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you suspect that your elderly relative has been a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home.