Nursing Homes Abuse on the Rise, but Many Cases Go Unreported

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Do you have a family member in a nursing home? Maybe it’s your mother or father or a grandparent; maybe a favorite aunt or uncle. You took great care to ensure that your loved one was placed in the best facility you could afford and insurance would cover. But on your recent visit, your mom didn’t look so good. Her hair wasn’t clean and she had bruises on her arms. Or perhaps your granddad was groggy and slept through the whole visit.

You spoke with the nurses and management and they said the bruises are natural because your mom is so frail, and you grandfather was drowsy due to his meds. These explanations sound feasible, after all the home was highly recommended and had a solid reputation.

Don’t discount your gut feelings there may be something wrong with how your relative is being treated. Abuse of the infirm and elderly is on the rise, and nursing homes are not exempt from abusive treatment of their residents. More than 2 million cases of elder abuse are reported every year, and nearly 1 of every 10 elderly individuals will experience elder abuse. The overwhelming majority of abuse incidents are not reported.

In the past year, the owner of a chain of nursing homes in Georgia was ordered to pay $43 million to the family of an 80-year-old man who died while placed in one of the homes. Evidence was presented that the man was malnourished, dehydrated and suffered from an undiagnosed, untreated broken hip. Court testimony exposed abuses at the home that included filthy bedsheets, lack of healthy, nutritious food, and shortages in prescribed medications.

Nursing homes are responsible to their patients and must exercise a standard of care to ensure patients are treated properly and without injury. The health care industry has experienced budget cutbacks in today’s economy, and as a consequence the demand for nurses and nurse’s aides sometimes exceeds the supply that can be afforded. Nurses are required to work long shifts and work many days before getting time off. Also, medical facilities may have to hire nurses with less training and experience because their wages are lower.

In addition to the blatant neglect demonstrated in the case mentioned above, other nursing home abuses can be less obvious but equally capable of causing injury and even death. The most common areas of neglect include failure to:

  • Minister the correct drug or dosage
  • Properly supervise a patient
  • Properly monitor a patient’s condition
  • Follow the doctor’s orders
  • Qualify to use certain medical procedures

If you or a loved one has developed complications or sustained injury while in the care of a nursing home you may have a legal cause of action. Discussing the circumstances of your case with an attorney at the Angell Law Firm who can help you get proper care for your loved one and recover damages from the owners of the home. Working with your attorney, you can establish how the nursing home’s actions resulted in injury or worsened the health situation. You may be entitled to money damages and attorney fees if your case is successful.

The Angell Law Firm is experts in personal injury law, the only kind of case the firm handles. Call (770) 217-4954 today for a free consultation with an Angell attorney. The Angell Law Firm is located in Atlanta and serves Chatham County, including Savannah; Clarke County including Athens; Cobb County, including Marietta; DeKalb County, including Decatur and Stone Mountain; Fulton County, including Atlanta, College Park, and Roswell; Gwinnett County including Buford, Lawrenceville, and Norcross; and Oconee County, including Watkinsville.