Roughly three million Americans over 65 years old live in long-term care facilities, also known as nursing homes. Quality nursing homes deliver individualized, evidence-based care to older people with chronic illnesses. They also ensure that the residents live as independently as possible. Many nursing homes adhere to these ideals, but unfortunately for patients and their families, not all nursing homes do. Facilities that fail to uphold standards of transparency, accountability, and patient-centered care can place their residents at risk.
Injuries in nursing homes occur at alarming rates:
- Around 50% to 75% of nursing home residents have a slip and fall accident in a given year, which is double the risk for elderly people living in their own home.
- Falls kill at least 1,800 nursing home residents per year in the United States. Up to 6% of fall victims break bones, while up to one-fifth suffer other forms of severe injury, often putting residents at risk for additional falls in the future.
- Other forms of patient injury can occur from neglect and substandard care. These include pressure ulcers or bedsores, deep vein thrombosis, malnutrition, and developing avoidable infections.
- At least 10% of nursing homes, as of 2012, met criteria for the patients being in immediate danger of harm, or already exposed to harm.
- Elder abuse remains a serious issue in nursing homes. Many nursing home staff members, medical examiners, and law enforcement officers may believe that this problem does not exist or is not important, leading to inadequate investigations of abuse reports. However, past reports found roughly 30% of nursing homes were cited for at least one form of abuse in a two-year time frame. The abuse citations were given for verbal, psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. In 7% of cases, the abuse had caused physical injury that required the victim to obtain medical attention.
- Abuse can come in many forms. Up to 4.8% of nursing homes improperly physically restrain patients. Between 4.4% and 7.8% of nursing home residents have experienced undesired weight loss, often from abuse and subsequent psychological issues.
Even a previously high-quality nursing home can sometimes put residents at risk for injury. Several factors can radically alter the quality of care that a nursing home provides. These factors include:
- Changes in nursing home ownership or administration
- Growing state and federal regulations that change care routines and workflow
- Insufficient state and federal budgeting for nursing home care
- Inadequate regulatory compliance efforts
- Increased workload demands on staff
- Shifts in nursing home equipment, medication, and staffing partnerships
These issues may jeopardize a nursing home’s quality of care, and its patients’ safety. Nursing home residents and their loved ones must therefore understand how personal injury claims may relate to these environments.
The residents of nursing homes have the right to personal safety. We believe nursing home residents should not need to fear injury, illness, unsanitary conditions, or abuse from the negligence or willful actions of nursing home staff and administrators.
Nursing home residents who have been abused or their loved ones who believe a resident was neglected or abused should contact us as soon as possible. You may need assistance in asserting your rights against nursing homes responsible for personal injuries. The legal and regulatory environment surrounding nursing homes can be overwhelming, especially when trying to deal with the physical and psychological trauma of injury. With qualified personal injury attorneys, you may be able to provide a consultation that reviews the facts of your case to determine its merits. In addition, you may be able to assist you in obtaining compensation for the injury. Speak with an experienced attorney such as the Personal Injury Attorney locals trust