Neglect Can Lead to Serious Injuries & Fatalities
A February 2014 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidents Among Medicare Beneficiaries, details the very real problem of nursing home abuse and neglect in this country. According to the 5 year study, nearly 30% of skilled nursing home residents suffer preventable, adverse events.
The very sad reality is that the elderly, infirm and disabled are often victims of abuse, precisely because those who carry out the abuse are 1. in a position of power and 2. believe no one is watching or will notice. This is often the case with residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Many residents simply do not have frequent contact with loved ones, and this can result in abuse and neglect.
The Three Most Common Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes
There are 3 general types of abuse in a nursing home setting:
- physical assault/abuse, and
- sexual assault/abuse.
Neglect in Nursing Homes
Neglect is not necessarily intentional, and is probably the most common type of abuse, essentially, abuse by neglect. Some cases of neglect are so severe that the resulting injuries require as much medical attention as injuries sustained in a violent physical attack. For instance, bed sores often develop due to the failure to tend to an immobile resident. Bed sores can very quickly become infected; if sepsis develops, the resident may die within a matter of hours. Other examples of neglect include dehydration and failure to tend to residents who require special assistance, such as a resident who needs aid going to the restroom and suffers a bad fall accident due to the lack of assistance.
Wandering – A Serious Form of Neglect
Another relatively common example of neglect involves a resident who wanders away from the facility and is injured in an accident or worse, dies. This is common in residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. These residents must be watched carefully; otherwise, they can literally walk out the front door and get lost.
There have been multiple media reports throughout the U.S. detailing nursing home wandering incidents. For instance, an elderly woman in Wisconsin was found lying in a creek near the nursing home and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Her alarm bracelet, designed to trigger an alarm when she was outside the nursing home, was missing. Authorities believe she opened a window and crawled out of it. The temperature was well below freezing when she was found.
The elderly, infirm and disabled absolutely deserve justice, no more and no less than anyone else. If you or a loved one was the victim of neglect at a nursing home or long term care facility, please contact our office to arrange a free consultation with our PA and NJ nursing home abuse/neglect lawyers. (215) 985-0777
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