Nursing Home Abuse is a Highly Prevalent Yet Underreported Problem in the U.S.
According to a study conducted by the National Center of Elder Abuse in 2000, 44 percent of nursing home residents have been the victim of caregiver abuse, 95 percent have been either the victim or witness of neglect, and more than 50 percent of caregivers admitted to mistreating a patient at one point or another in their career. A 2011 study done by the Inspector General revealed that approximately 1,538 nursing home patients died due to substandard care in a nursing home. Over a two year period, one in three nursing homes was cited for a violation that had the potential to cause harm, and nearly ten percent of all nursing homes had violations that did cause harm and serious injury, and that placed the elderly patient in jeopardy of death.
Nursing Home Abuse is a Largely Underreported Problem
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a very serious problem, one that is so underreported it has been allowed to continue in great prevalence across the globe. Unfortunately, when instances of abuse do get reported, not much is done to correct the situation. Take GraceWood Nursing Home in Pinellas Park, Florida for instance: not only was GraceWood under state surveillance since November of 2013 for not meeting minimum care standards, but also, in 2012, the facility received three fines in the last quarter of the year for improper care, and had two elderly residents fall from a chair lift in 2014. Furthermore, the facility has on record that a number of its patients are in dire need of dental care, but show that no dental appointments have been scheduled. The facility has also not denied claims of failing to report injuries, healthcare problems, and obvious symptoms of injury and/or illness to attending physicians.
The neglect and abuse prevalent at this Tampa nursing home facility has led to yet another nursing home wrongful death this past year. On April 30, 2016, 65-year-old Wilbert Henry Moten – who was immobile – was left unattended in the baking Tampa sun for hours on the facility’s grounds. Because of his immobility, he had to have been wheeled outside and left there, with no way of getting back inside on his own. After suffering from severe second degree burns, Moten passed away later that evening. Moten had no living relatives, but his health care proxy reported that no one from the facility tried contacting him about his death.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
While most of us want to believe that all nursing homes are loving and caring institutions, the sad reality is that nursing homes are a hotbed for abuse and neglect. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, keep your eyes out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Withdrawn or unusually agitated demeanor;
- Injuries or fractures;
- Rapid weight loss/weight gain;
- Refusal to talk in front of the nursing home staff;
- Unusual and sudden changes in behavior;
- Unsanitary living conditions;
- Heavy medication or sedation; and
- Unexplained hospitalization or death.
When to Seek Help
If you suspect that a loved one is being abused by the staff of their nursing home facility, or if you yourself have experienced abuse by the staff of your nursing home facility, contact a Tampa abuse lawyer right away. Statistics prove that chronic abuse and neglect can lead to death, so the earlier you take action, the sooner we can put an end to the mistreatment. At The Pendas Law Firm, we give a voice to those who feel as if they do not have one. Contact our personal injury lawyers at 1-888-LPENDAS or online to schedule your consultation today. Our firm serves clients throughout Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.