legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Northeast Jefferson County, CO Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, from physical abuse and sexual abuse to emotional abuse and financial exploitation. Often the victims are unable to defend themselves or report the abuse.
Does your loved one reside in a nursing home? If so, it is important to be aware of the signs of nursing home abuse and to take action if you suspect that your loved one is being abused.
The Jefferson County personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Laws Center, are legal advocates for injured nursing home residents. Our law firm gets results through comprehensive civil tort law to hold those responsible for your loved one's injuries financially and legally accountable.
Contact a Colorado nursing home abuse attorney at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
No one wants to think about their elderly loved ones being abused while in a nursing home, but the sad reality is that it does happen. Nursing home abuse is a serious problem that affects many older adults each year.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse victims often feel scared or embarrassed to speak up. It's important to be aware of the signs of abuse and know what to do if you suspect something is wrong.
Abuse can take many forms, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. It can also include negligence, which can be just as harmful as any other type of abuse. If you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, don't hesitate to speak up and get help.
Legal resources are available to help protect your loved one, and legal advice is to hold the abuser accountable.National and Colorado Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, there were more than 1,000 nursing homes nationwide with substantiated claims of abuse or neglect in 2019.
This number includes both physical and mental abuses as well as neglect cases where residents receive inadequate care because they don't receive necessary medical treatment or assistance with daily living activities like bathing, dressing, and eating.Colorado Elderly Abuse Data
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) collects data on reported cases of elder abuse each year to provide insight into the issue. Because instances of nursing home abuse and neglect often go unreported, these statistics likely represent only a small fraction of the problem.
Based on data collected by CDPHE in 2018, reported abuse and neglect cases in nursing homes fell slightly from 2020. Even so, there were more than 1,600 cases statewide the previous year, and 2,939 total reports received since 2018.
The most common types of abuse in these reports included:
- Physical abuse (1,059 incidents)
- Neglect (497 cases)
- Self-neglect (515 cases)
In Colorado, the vast majority of reported elder abuse victims were female. In fact, from 2016 to 2018, six out of every seven victims were women. The average age of victims in Colorado during this time frame was 85.5 years old.Nursing Home Industry Facts
Senior citizens in America are society's most vulnerable population relying on the help of others to maintain their wellbeing. Often, families must deal with the complicated decisions to place a loved one in a nursing facility to ensure they receive the best care to maximize their quality of life.
Specific statistics about the nursing home industry include:
- There were more than 14,000 licensed nursing facilities in the United States as of 2019
- The average daily cost of a private room in a nursing home was $249.30 in 2018, and the per diem rate for long-term care was $150.57
- Medicare is estimated to pay nearly $80 billion towards nursing home care in 2019
- Medicaid is estimated to pay an additional $60 billion for nursing home bills each year.
- The average stay of the typical nursing home resident in the U.S. is estimated to be around two years.
While the elderly population in the United States is growing, government spending on nursing homes has remained relatively flat over the last decade.Choosing the Best Nursing Home
When a family is considering a nursing facility for senior citizens, the best way to protect seniors from abuse and neglect is through proper research beforehand. The Nursing Home Compare site offers detailed information about specific facilities so consumers can see all of the latest safety violations and complaints made against a particular facility.
In addition, families should implement an organizational system that tracks nursing home visits and medication distribution so that they can identify any status changes immediately.
Per the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, for every one reported case of elder abuse or neglect, there are 24 other cases that go unreported because victims fear retaliation from their caregivers. The Colorado Department on Aging recommends contacting local law enforcement immediately, as well as the state's Adult Protective Services unit.Depression and Anxiety in Colorado Senior Centers
According to the CDC, 1 in 25 people over the age of 50 suffer from depression. This rate is higher than any other age group.
Unfortunately, only one out of every three individuals who are depressed seeks treatment for their condition. Meanwhile, more than half of elderly citizens diagnosed with mental health problems do not receive the care they need.
In recent years, the National Institute of Aging researchers found that these statistics are even higher in nursing homes where more than half of all residents suffer from symptoms of depression and other mental disorders.Finding Solutions for Elderly Depression in Nursing Facilities
Aging individuals with mental health conditions are at increased risk for the quality of their care in a nursing facility. Many health conditions can lead to depression, but even those without chronic diseases are at risk.
The National Institute on Aging reports that as many as half of all adults age 65 and older with depression don't receive treatment.
Today's nursing facilities are responsible for providing a safe environment for patients and being proactive when identifying and treating mental health issues.
The most common mental health conditions that affect the elderly include dementia, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. These can be challenging to treat in a nursing facility because of their highly sensitive nature.Mental Health Issues in Colorado Nursing Homes
According to a National Institute of mental health study, people over the age of 50 are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than younger individuals. Because mental disorders often go untreated in nursing homes, this creates an environment where abuse can flourish.Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
The cases of mental health issues involving dementia and Alzheimer's disease in nursing homes have risen significantly since 2015. The number of patients suffering from some form of dementia has tripled over the past three decades as life expectancy has increased.
In 2016, almost half of all nursing home residents had Alzheimer's Disease or a related mental health disorder. This statistic represents a decline from previous years because more people receive treatment for this condition in their own homes.
Even so, there was a dramatic increase in the number of nursing home residents with dementia from 2015 to 2021. During this timeframe, the number of Alzheimer's patients jumped from 19 percent to 42 percent, even though more people were receiving treatment before entering a care facility.Over 50% of Abuse/Neglect Complaints are Never Investigated
The Department of Elder Affairs (DEA) was created to address this problem through inspections and investigations of all nursing homes in the state. However, a random review of the DEA's monitoring files revealed that more than half of all complaints about abuse and neglect never resulted in an investigation.
In Colorado, most reports of elder abuse involve neglect from family members or caregivers rather than employees at a nursing facility. Nearly 90 percent of cases in Colorado during the 2016 to 2018 timeframe involved caregivers, friends, or family members.Physical Health Issues in Nursing Facilities
Even healthy older adults entering a nursing home to receive treatment for chronic conditions can experience considerable declines in their quality of life.
Approximately 90% of all nursing homes accept patients with long-term care needs. However, as many as one-third of these facilities have been cited for cases of understaffing, which results in overworked staff members and a lack of attention from the medical team.
As a result, general health issues go untreated and can lead to further physical and mental deterioration for patients.Almost Two-Thirds of Elderly Residents Die Within 6 Months After Relocating
In a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found that nearly two-thirds of nursing home residents die within six months of moving into a facility. Almost half of these individuals died from pneumonia or other infection.
While this rate is alarming, it represents only a small percentage of the actual death toll for nursing home patients.
According to the study, less than half of all residents received a flu shot before moving into a facility, making them prime targets for deadly diseases that spread rapidly throughout these communities.Medication Errors in Nursing Homes
Senior citizens are at an increased risk for accidental drug overdose due to impaired judgment, impaired mobility, and limited independent living skills.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that over half of all nursing home residents take at least five medications each day for various health-related issues bringing them at high risk for serious side effects.
The FDA reports that in 2008, more than 300,000 patients died from drug-related injuries, which makes medication errors the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States.Preventable Bedsores: A Leading Indicator of Severe Neglect
Bedsores are a serious problem that affects people of all ages, but many don't know what they are.
Bedsores happen when pressure is applied to the skin for an extended period of time and forms ulcers. The two most common bedsores in nursing homes are decubitus ulcers and pressure sores.
Decubitus ulcers happen when someone spends too much time in one position, putting pressure on the skin, eventually leading to an open sore or wound.
Pressure sores occur after someone stays in one place for too long, which causes their weight to be distributed unevenly over the body with increased pressure on certain points such as hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders.
These can sometimes lead to infections that go unnoticed because of understaffing and can take months to heal fully.Bedsore Stages
Wound care specialists and doctors categorize the different stages of bedsores (pressure sores, pressure wounds, pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers) to identify the extent of the injury or its progression quickly. The stages include:
- Stage I: The pressure wound is red and slightly swollen in the initial stage.
- Stage II: The wound is deeper than in Stage I but not through the full skin depth. The area may also be indurated (hardened), appearing shiny or tense.
- Stage III: Also known as a pressure ulcer, this type of bedsore is shallow around the wound edges. The area surrounding the wound appears indurated (hardened), and sometimes there is a bluish hue on top of whitish tissue in some parts.
- Stage IV: A full-thickness pressure ulcer has developed where the healing skin is very thin or missing. It can be painful, open, or with a pale surface, and the surrounding tissues may be bluish or black due to ischemia.
- Unstageable: A stage V pressure ulcer is an open, full-thickness wound with exposed bone(s) or tendon(s) and/or discolored or charred tissue. The area may be painful or have no feeling at all.
Bedsores indicate more serious problems such as malnutrition, dehydration, and physical neglect, all of which can lead to permanent disability or death.Types of Bedsores
A type of bedsore depends on the amount of contact with the surface and causes more tissue damage, including:
- Friction bedsores (shear): This type happens when moisture is present on the skin for prolonged periods like incontinence or when baby powder or lotion is often not used—friction results in shearing forces that tear deeper layers of skin.
- Pressure sores (decubitus ulcers): These are the most common type of bedsores in nursing homes. They can happen when someone stays in one position for too long, which causes their weight to be distributed unevenly over the body with increased pressure on certain points such as hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders.
Prevention is key! Many patients are at risk for bedsores if their skin condition is already compromised. For this reason, it is vital to keep the skin clean and free of moisture and to turn and move patients often while they are in bed and/or if they have been recently admitted from a hospital stay.
If you or your loved one has been affected by bedsores, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Nursing Home Law Center today to schedule a free consultation.Medicare Survey Reports Neglect and Abuse
In addition to medication errors, neglect and abuse are also prominent causes of injury for elderly patients living in nursing homes across America.
The Department of Health & Human Services reports that nursing home residents are at an increased risk of suffering from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse due to their vulnerability and lack of ability to escape dangerous situations.
The department also reported that in 2017 alone, there were over 17,000 reports of nursing home neglect across the nation, with nearly half of these cases involving serious bodily injury.Nursing Home Neglect Prevention
There are several important measures everyone can take to ensure that patients receive the care they need.
- First, get an updated list of medications before moving into a nursing home facility.
- Second, visiting loved ones at least twice per week is imperative for optimal oversight. Since many elderly patients do not like speaking up for themselves, family members should be active in any appeal process if their loved one's needs are not properly met.
- Finally, state and federal agencies have provided families with the tools to improve nursing home care by publishing an extensive standards guide for these communities. By utilizing this guide, families can identify potential problems early on before they escalate into dangerous situations.
The ideal way to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect is by getting a loved one into a facility with a good reputation and high safety standards.
For those family members who cannot afford this option, they can take steps to become advocates for their loved ones by:
- Ensuring they monitor their care
- Conducting regular visits and
- Making random inspections of the facility's equipment
On a more personal level, families can ensure that all forms of abuse are reported immediately to local authorities and the state agency on aging. In addition, it is never a bad idea to keep an eye on your loved one's medications and schedule visits to keep them on a routine.
Do you suspect your loved one is the victim of neglect, abuse, or mistreatment while staying at a nursing home facility? If so, contact our nationwide personal injury law firm to receive a free consultation.Common Types of Nursing Abuse and Neglect
Whether physical, sexual, emotional, or financial, Elder abuse can occur in any type of care facility. Unfortunately, many residents are too afraid or embarrassed to speak up and allow the situation to continue.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse and neglect can be categorized into several different types:Physical Assault
Physical abuse involves an older adult's body injury through intentional contact. This abuse could include hitting, shoving, restraining, or other uncomfortably actions that could lead to bruising, broken bones, and other more serious injuries.
According to data, the most common types of physical abuse reported by Colorado nursing home residents during 2018 included:
- Hitting, punching, slapping (424 incidents)
- Biting (102 incidents)
- Shaking/throwing/hitting with a foreign object (45 incidents)
- Kicking or biting a wheelchair or walker (38 incidents)
- Pulling hair/scratching or pinching (21 incidents)
- Verbal assault with threats to inflict serious harm (12 incidents)
This type of abuse is when a caregiver forces an older adult to engage in sexual activity against their will.
Approximately 69 reported cases of sexual abuse in Colorado nursing homes during 2018. Most often, this type of abuse is committed by the nursing staff. Often, inappropriate behavior is committed when the resident is isolated from others and under the predator's complete control.Emotional Abuse
This type of abuse involved the caretaker's words when speaking to the resident. Examples include name-calling, treating an older adult like a child, or constant insults that cause mental depression or distress.
According to reports, there were 56 incidents of emotional abuse among Colorado nursing home patients in 2018, including all types of mental trauma or distress inflicted upon residents, including harassment, intimidation, ridiculing, isolation, and threatening behaviors.
It is also common for these facilities to ignore basic requests or humiliate residents by withholding food, medications, and other necessities.Financial Exploitation
When a caregiver takes advantage of an older adult's mental impairment or trust to steal their money or valuables for personal use.
Reports indicate that financial exploitation is one of the leading types of abuse in nursing homes almost every year. The most common forms this type of abuse takes are unauthorized use of funds, pocket-picking, stealing, forging, and the use of falsified documents.Neglect
One of the more cruel types of elder abuse is neglect which involves withholding care and other necessities like food, water, and medical attention.
According to reports, neglect was the most common type of abuse in Colorado nursing homes during 2018, with a total of 2168 incidents reported. This statistic includes all types of non-physical abuses or behaviors that put a patient's health or wellbeing at risk, including:
- Failure to provide clean or sanitary living conditions (646 reported cases)
- Failure to provide basic necessities like food, water, clothing, bathing, and grooming supplies (374 incidents)
- Lack of supervision or security measures for residents who wander off the property (209 incidents)
- Improper use of medications or errors with prescription dosages (202 incidents)
- Lack of monitoring a resident's physical or mental health conditions (120 incidents)
- Improper use of restraints specifically to prevent residents from wandering off the property or harming themselves or others (113 reported cases)
- The use of punishment as a disciplinary measure, including denial of food, water, sleep, and access to bathroom facilities (108 reported cases)
In addition to federal laws regarding physical abuse, nursing home residents have the right to expect their loved ones to be protected from any type of harm inflicted upon them by other people.
Our Jefferson County personal injury law firm will help you seek justice and get the compensation you deserve for your suffering for your medical bills, pain, and suffering. Don't hesitate when you can take action today!
Our nursing home abuse lawyers are currently accepting all civil cases involving allegations of physical abuse in Colorado nursing homes. Call a nursing home abuse lawyer today at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form for legal advice or schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case with a nursing home abuse lawyer.Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse Reporting Resources in Colorado
Colorado residents are encouraged to contact the Eldercare Locator, which was created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) if they believe their loved one is at risk for nursing home abuse or neglect. This free referral service can be reached by calling 1-800-677-1116 or online at the website.Nursing Home Abuse: Red Flags to Look Out for When Protecting a Loved One
Sometimes nursing home abuse can be challenging to spot. However, there are red flags that may indicate that something like nursing home abuse, neglect, or mistreatment is happening.
The state of Colorado identifies several situations that could point to nursing home abuse or neglect if they occur in a nursing home:
- A resident becomes anxious when left alone with a particular caregiver
- Caregivers refuse to allow visitors to see a resident
- Residents with bedsores don't receive proper treatment
- A procedure went wrong (medical malpractice)
- Caregivers or nurses are rude or disrespectful to residents or visitors
- The nursing home resident acquired an STD (sexual abuse)
- Residents refrain from speaking up, appear withdrawn, avoid eye contact, and lack social interactions with other people
If any of these warning signs sound familiar in your family member's residence, don't hesitate to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. In the meantime, you can also report your concerns to CDPHE by calling (303) 692-2820 or completing a report online on the agency's website for legal resources.
Those hurt in an accident caused by nursing home negligence should contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Nursing Home Law Center for legal help or schedule a free consultation today to discuss paying your medical bills.Protective Services for Nursing Home Residents
While progress has been made in protecting nursing home residents, too many are still being abused at the hands of those entrusted with their care. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that older adults are abused between one and two million each year.
About 20 percent of all nursing home patients experience some form of abuse, with anywhere between three and 10 percent of those patients suffering from egregious neglect.
According to the NCEA, nursing homes can be legally responsible for elder abuse if they fail to take steps to reduce the risk.
Facilities must provide a safe environment free from undue risks to their patients, including prevention, identification, and reporting of any potential or actual cases of abuse.Elder Abuse Signs to Watch for in Nursing Homes
Unfortunately, it can be tough for family members and friends to spot nursing home abuse. Often the victims don't have many opportunities to speak up. Their abuser is usually someone they are close to or related to by blood or marriage.
Elders who are abused at the hands of nursing home staff often keep their abuse a secret due to fear and shame. While many cases of elder mistreatment go unreported, several signs indicate that something may be wrong:
- Bruises under clothing or bandages on the head without a plausible explanation
- Unexplained cuts or burns
- The family member is often reluctant to speak, show signs of anxiety when discussing the nursing home, or appears anxious about their appointments at the facility
- Signs that the resident may be experiencing pain due to neglect
While some elder abuse cases are obvious, proving that negligence occurred can still be tough. As such, families of nursing home residents are asked to contact Adult Protective Services (APS) if they suspect any form of abuse or neglect in their loved one's facility.
While you can't always see if someone is being abused, several red flags can indicate when something might be wrong, including:
- Minimal stimulation or interaction with others
- Poor hygiene
- Bedsores or other injuries which haven't been treated
- Constant pain or complaints of pain
- Changes in mood, behavior, or personality
- Withdrawal from social interactions with family and friends
While some states have begun licensing elder care facilities, there is no federal standard for all nursing homes across the country, making it easier for abusers to get away with their crimes and putting thousands of elderly Americans at risk every year.
Fortunately, there is a growing awareness about elder abuse and neglect, which has prompted several federal and state-level initiatives that focus on reducing the number of victims through public education and more stringent monitoring of nursing home facilities.
Abuse can be prevented when individuals work together to raise awareness so that the signs of neglect and abuse don't go unnoticed. By being aware of these warning signs, you can play a role in protecting your loved ones from suffering a similar fate.Facility Inspections: A Poor Indicator of Overall Health
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) inspection is required yearly in all nursing homes, but it does not reveal everything about a facility's quality of care.
The CMS inspection can be a helpful tool when looking to place a loved one in a nursing home facility. The Compare website reveals detailed information on each facility's yearly inspection.Are Inspections Reliable?
While the inspections can be a good tool for Jefferson County family members to use in their research, they should not be used alone to determine whether or not a nursing home is right for their loved ones. While the facility might have passed its inspection, there might be no apparent signs that something may be wrong.
When a family member is at risk for abuse because of their age or health condition, you should look deeper into the facility to determine whether or not it is a good fit.
Protect your loved ones from abuse. If you feel they may be in danger because of their age, medical condition, or any other circumstance, seek the assistance of Adult Protective Services (APS) right away to ensure they receive quality care when necessary and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyers to Resolve a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
Was your loved one the victim of mistreatment, abuse, or neglect while a resident in a Jefferson County nursing home? Did you lose a family member through a wrongful death caused by someone else's negligence? Our personal injury lawyers can help!
With a Jefferson County nursing home abuse lawyer, you can take immediate legal action, determine exactly what happened, and hold those responsible financially and legally accountable. Contact a personal injury attorney today at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship. Our personal injury law firm accepts all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning no upfront fees are paid until your nursing home abuse lawyer resolves your case.Resources: