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Nursing Home Abuse Or Neglect

Personal Injury Attorney - Charlotte, NC 

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, which serves as the U.S. clearinghouse for information for law enforcement, legal professionals and other networks, more than 30% of all nursing homes nationwide engage in some form of elder abuse. Statistics also reveal that only 20% of nursing home abuse is reported, which makes the actual incidence of abuse much higher. Greater than 50% of all nursing homes do not have an adequate number of staff to care for their residents which overburdens the staff they do have, resulting in neglect and abuse.

Nursing homes frequently are understaffed and their workers underpaid. Professional nursing duties often are delegated to low-paid and unskilled workers.

As baby boomers begin to require elder care, the situation with nursing homes becomes even more critical. The supply of beds in nursing homes is predicted to fall significantly short of the demand in coming years.

While supply and demand are resulting in substandard conditions in nursing homes, if elder abuse is not legally taken to task, the occurrence of abuse will only get worse.

Nursing Home Abuse Examples

In order to provide a clear understanding of what may be considered neglect or abuse that results in serious harm; here are some examples of substandard nursing home care that could be subject to a malpractice lawsuit:

  • Over-medication
  • Under-medication
  • Lack of proper nutrition or feeding
  • Insufficient liquids provided
  • Lack of bathing and grooming
  • Leaving residents in bed all day
  • Not providing toilet assistance
  • Allowing residents to lie in soiled clothes
  • Allowing residents to fall
  • Allowing residents to develop pressure sores (decubitus ulcers)
  • Not answering call lights

Signs of Elder Abuse Observable in Residents

Some degree of incapacity on the part of the resident has led to requiring nursing home care in the first place. Residents may be in no shape to realize that their care is negligent or abusive. Nursing home abuse or neglect can often be detected by observing residents’ appearance or behavior:

  • Dirty or untidy appearance
  • Skin rashes
  • Bruises or skin tears
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Odor of urine or feces
  • Anxiety or fear toward caregivers
  • Dehydration
  • Unreasonable physical restraints
  • Bone fractures from falls
  • Injuries from multiple falls
  • Pressure sores (bedsores)

The elderly often suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's or are in such poor physical condition that they are either not cognizant or are not able to effectively communicate what is happening in their environment. A family member, friend or relative visiting them usually bears the responsibility of observing, reporting what is happening and seeking legal advice or representation. Most people do not know what would legally constitute nursing home abuse and serve as grounds for legal action.

The Law Offices of Paul Whitfield offer a free consultation to discuss your concerns and potential legal action with a personal injury attorney. Please call our office or email to arrange an appointment.

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