For adult children, placing their mother or father in a nursing home can
be one of the most difficult decisions they ever make, but often it
seems like the best choice for everyone concerned, especially when the elderly
parent requires 24/7 care, or when the son or daughter is ill-equipped
to proper care for their elderly parent.
People usually place their loved one in a nursing home with the “best
intentions.” The nursing home advertises that it provides quality
care, and the adult son or daughter believes the nursing home’s
claims. The problem is that if we believe everything that we’re
told by nursing homes, we’ll have a false sense of security.
There is a darker side to nursing homes and it has to do with nursing home
neglect. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elder abuse refers to “an intentional act, or failure to
act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship [with someone
60 or older] involving an expectation of trust."
How common is elder abuse or neglect?
The Department of Health and Human Services on Aging says that we don’t
know how many people are victims of elder abuse and neglect. The main
reason why the data is unclear is because abuse and neglect in the nursing
home setting are grossly underreported.
Many elderly residents are reluctant to report maltreatment because they
are afraid of retaliation from their caregivers. Other victims complain
of abuse or neglect, but their caregivers explain away their complaints
as “figments of their imagination” or the dementia talking.
Several studies have shed light on the nursing home abuse epidemic. In
2000, research conducted by the
National Center on Elder Abuse on over 2,000 nursing home residents revealed that 44% of them were victims
of abuse, and 95% of them had been neglected or they had seen other residents
The very same studies revealed that over 50% of the nursing home staff
surveyed admitted to mistreating the residents under their care.
National Elder Mistreatment Study found that up to 10% of all people that were surveyed had been abused
in the past year. In 2010, a
study conducted by Cornell University and the New York City Department for Aging
found that elder abuse was almost 24 times greater than the cases reported
to the authorities.
Signs of nursing home neglect:
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss
- Soiled or dirty clothing
- Unclean room
- Foul odors in the resident’s room
- Poor hygiene
- Inadequate clothing
- Failure to protect the resident from unsafe environments or activities
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect
or abuse, we urge you to
contact a Columbia
personal injury attorney from the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC for a
free case evaluation.