Nursing Home Neglect

neglect-nursing-home-patientNow that the baby boomer population (those born between 1946 and 1964) is reaching retirement age, it is expected that there will be an increasing demand for quality healthcare throughout the country. 

This has created a sharp rise in the prominence of for-profit nursing home chains that has coincided with increased reports of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Our nursing home abuse lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, handle elder abuse complaints involving injuries, bedsores, and wrongful death at residential care facilities. In addition, our nursing home abuse attorneys can provide immediate legal advice that will report abuse allegations and resolve your loved one's safety concerns.

Call our nursing home neglect attorneys at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free case review. Let our law firm review the evidence and determine those legally responsible.

Nursing Home Statistics

According to the CDC, there are around 15,600 nursing homes throughout the United States serving 1.4 million elderly residents. In addition, nearly 9 million patients receive some form of assisted short-term or long-term care every year.

The number of nursing homes owned by for-profit businesses has nearly reached 70%.

Common Nursing Home Abuse and Injuries

From 2016 until the present day, there have been over 324,000 deficiencies reported for over 15,000 nursing facilities throughout the country. These deficiencies are classified by severity, with B class offenses considered minor concerns and ranging to L class offenses, the most heinous and irresponsible.

Over 90% of all nursing homes have at least one recorded deficiency in violation of federal regulations. The odds are highly likely that your family members could be subject to substandard care, even if the offense was minor.

Here is the number of deficiencies recorded over the last six years by a class of offense.

  • Class B Offenses: These offenses do not result in physical harm to patients but represent a risk of potential injury and developing a pattern worthy of concern. More than 7,100 of these deficiencies were reported during the last six years.
  • Class C Offenses: Like Class B offenses, a Class C offense doesn't result in any actual harm but poses a significant risk to patients. The upgrade from a Class B to Class C offense occurs when the issue is considered widespread. There were 7,746 of these deficiencies reported.
  • Class D Offenses: Most deficiencies reported fall into this category, representing offenses that present the potential for more serious harm, even though no actual injury was reported. Class D offenses are isolated and not widespread, but 185,619 of these offenses were recorded.
  • Class E Offenses: A Class E offense is like a Class D offense as it is more widespread and part of a pattern. Whenever a pattern of negligence is established, a nursing facility should be subject to higher levels of scrutiny to ensure that the pattern does not lead to an actual injury. There were a total of 85,855 Class E offenses reported.
  • Class F Offenses: These offenses pose the risk of more serious harm and are considered widespread or systematic. A Class F offense indicates an elevated risk that the negligent pattern could result in physical injury or elder neglect. Nearly 22,000 of these violations were reported.
  • Class G Offenses: A Class G offense indicates that a resident suffered an actual injury, but the event does not place other nursing home residents at risk of similar harm. The deficiencies are isolated events and are usually the result of individual actions rather than systematic neglig 9,996 Class G offenses were reported over the last six years.
  • Class H Offenses: These violations result in moderate injury but indicate a developing nursing home abuse or neglect pattern. While other residents are not considered at immediate risk of harm, the concern is no longer due to an isolated event. Roughly 837 of these violations were reported.
  • Class J Offenses: A Class J offense represents an immediate and serious threat to an elderly patient that results in a physical injury or emotional abuse that requires medical attention. These events are isolated and not part of a systemic pattern. There was a total of 2,410 Class J offenses recorded.
  • Class K Offenses: The offenses are due to a consistent negligent or abusive behavior pattern. Class K offenses are part of systemic nursing home abuse patterns and pose a hazard to all patients at the offending facility. There were 2,012 of these offenses recorded.
  • Class L Offenses: Considered the most severe and heinous class of offenses, these offenses represent widespread deficiencies that exhibit a complete disregard for the safety of nursing home residents and staff members. There were 719 Class K offenses recorded in 2017.
Nursing Home Neglect in Assisted Living Facilities

Elder neglect occurs in many forms, including abandonment, where someone responsible for an elder's care deserts them, such as a family member, friend, or another individual.

In some cases, it's the adult children or other caregivers who have left an elder in the care of an assisted living facility and never return to check on them.

Nursing home neglect involves the failure of staff and other individuals to provide proper care in nursing home facilities. In some cases, nursing home neglect results from a staffing issue – that is – there are not enough staff to properly care for elderly residents. In other instances, it may be a lack of qualified professional staff.

In all cases, a nursing home resident must rely on the facility to ensure his needs are met. Any inadequate care or lack of attention could compromise his health and well-being.

Is Negligence a Form of Abuse?

Nursing home neglect can result in significant harm to a resident in many forms, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

Psychological issues and neglect might result in emotional abuse when a caregiver uses threats and insults to create fear and anxiety in an older person.

Self-neglect occurs when an older adult loses their ability to perform self-care but does not get assistance or refuses it. Although self-neglect isn't as violent as others, such as physical abuse, it can be just as harmful.

Elder neglect is often difficult to prove, making it even more challenging for an older adult who has suffered abuse or neglect. In addition, they may struggle with chronic illnesses, memory loss, and other issues that limit their ability to communicate what happened.

Nursing Home Neglect Facts

For every reported case of nursing home elder abuse, approximately 57 cases are never reported. As a result, older adults who reside in nursing homes are at risk for nursing home neglect, which can cause physical and mental health harm.

One study found that only 5% of respondents had never experienced or witnessed neglect. In contrast, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 15.3% reported experiencing some mistreatment within the past year.

Many cases go unreported as 12% admitted they neglected elderly nursing home residents one time within a year, according to a 2020 survey from World Health Organization where employees were interviewed anonymously.

The form often involves withholding food, water, personal hygiene, clothing cleanliness, etc., so it causes malnutrition, decreased mobility, and depression, among other things.

A Growing Problem

In an aging America, the number of people needing long-term care is rising. There were over 142,000 cases of nursing home neglect reported between 2015 to 2018, which includes individuals who resided in assisted living facilities and other personal care homes.

The figure represents about 3% of the 1.4 million people living in nursing homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

These statistics represent a growing problem due to the rising elderly population. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, between 2000 and 2030, the number of people aged 65 years or older with a disability is predicted to double from an estimated 9.9 million to 19 million.

Common Types of Negligence Injuries Involving Nursing Home Residents

The most common types of serious injuries our nursing home injury lawyers encounter when serving clients whose injuries were due to nursing home abuse or neglect are listed below.

  • Medication errors: Medication errors may include prescribing or administering the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or prescribing medications without consideration for potential drug interactions
  • Nursing home falls: Due to lack of supervision, environmental hazards, or a patient is dropped during transport.
  • Physical orsexual abuse: Horrendous sexual assault and physical abuse are heinous offenses by nursing home staff members, employees, or other residents at nursing homes that can lead to civil litigation.
  • Assisted living accidents: Occurring during hospice care, home nursing, or at daycare centers
  • Choking accidents: Due to lack of supervision or failure to assist patients with a choking risk
  • Wheelchair accidents: Occur while helping a patient into or out of a wheelchair or during transit
  • Evidence ofphysical or chemical restraints: The use of drugs or chemicals to subdue a patient
  • Broken bones: Suffered due to an accident
  • Untimely orwrongful death: When a family member dies due to nursing home staff members' negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against the care facility
  • Medical neglect: Nursing home staff members fail to provide a resident with proper medical care. Medical neglect may result in inadequate diabetic care, pressure sores, infections, mobility issues, and other medical treatment concerns.
  • Neglects of basic needs: Nursing home staff members neglect the basic needs of their residents if they provide them with an environment that is not clean or sufficient food and water.
  • Personal hygiene neglect: A nursing home's neglect of personal hygiene can be described as failing to provide residents with the dental care, laundry services, and baths they need.
  • Social or emotional neglect: When a nursing home resident's social and emotional care needs are ignored, they may be left alone often or not provided with proper care.
  • Understaffing: Causes a staff shortage, which leads to overworked employees
  • Inadequate training: Inadequate training can lead to nursing home neglect on the part of caretakers. If they are not properly trained for their roles, they may slip into patterns of negligence and failure to provide adequate care or even necessary attention to those who need it most.

Neglecting residents may seem like an easy way to save on costs, but it can have grave consequences. Nursing homes have a duty to provide a certain level of care for their residents, and when they fail to do so, they can be held liable for neglecting residents resulting in injuries or illnesses.

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Warning signs of nursing home neglect include injuries, bruises, pest infestation, soiled bedding and clothing, lack of supervision, and poor personal hygiene -- all of which are more likely to occur if the nursing home facility has a high number of staff vacancies.

Other signs that may suggest nursing home elder abuse or neglect include:

  • Sudden decline in health: Unexplained injuries such as cuts, bruises, and broken bones can be signs of nursing home abuse.
  • Behavior changes and mental health problems: Withdrawal, depression, or anxiety should not go unnoticed if they are unexplained by the resident's doctor or family members.
  • Facility-acquired bedsores: Pressure sores are usually caused by prolonged, uninterrupted pressure on the skin.
  • Urinary problems: Burning urination or serious injuries around catheter tubes may be signs of nursing home neglect
  • Unexplained weight loss: It indicates malnutrition, and unexplained weight loss in patients may signal that the nursing home is ignoring the patient’s dietary needs.
  • Bathroom accidents: Falls in the bathroom often result from a lack of supervision or poorly lit
  • Left sitting in soiled clothing can lead to bedsores, rashes, infections, and other health concerns. Also, dressed inappropriately for the weather conditions; too much clothing or not enough clothing can lead to health problems such as hypothermia.
  • Depression, anxiety, or paranoia: Can happen due to confusion, physical pain, and untreated physical and mental health conditions
  • Self-harm: Hitting themselves, kicking, unexplained injuries such as cuts, bruises, and broken bones, can all be signs of nursing home neglect.

An unreasonable fear of people could indicate that something is wrong if the nursing home resident believes an abuser will retaliate if they speak up.

According to "the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry," the most common elder abuse reported in nursing homes is neglect. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is too common in this country because of understaffing, lack of supervision, compromised safety measures, and a desire to cut costs.

Measures to Curb Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home abuse is a serious issue that affects millions of elderly Americans every year. While there are many laws in place, including nursing home abuse and neglect laws, to help protect nursing home residents, more needs to be done to prevent these incidents from occurring in the first place.

Increase the Number of Nurses and Nursing Assistants Working in Nursing Homes

One way to help curb nursing home abuse is to increase the number of nurses and nursing assistants working in these facilities.

The measure can ensure that residents are appropriately monitored and taken care of. In addition, it is essential to provide adequate training for all nursing staff so that they are aware of the warning signs of abuse and neglect.

Create a More Open and Transparent Reporting System in Nursing Homes

Another way to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect is to create a more open and transparent reporting system involving reporting any suspected abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities, such as the police.

Ensure that any cases of abuse or neglect are investigated promptly and that the perpetrators are held accountable.

Raise Awareness About Nursing Home Neglect

It is crucial to raise awareness about nursing home neglect through public campaigns, education programs, and speaking with friends and family members about the issue.

By raising awareness, we can help ensure that more people know how to spot the signs of abuse and take appropriate action if they suspect something is wrong. Do not turn the other way; report nursing home neglect to the appropriate state or federal agency or 911 in case of a medical emergency.

Nursing Homes Failing in Their Duties

Nursing homes are supposed to provide care and support to seniors who need assistance with their daily living activities. Unfortunately, when these facilities fail in their duties, tragedy can occur for the many residents that depend on them.

The federal government has established minimum mandates that nursing homes must abide by as stipulated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), including food preparation, housekeeping services, and personal care assistance.

According to Health and Human Services, nursing home neglect is preventable when there are sufficient staffing levels and qualifications.

Inadequate Staffing in Nursing Homes

Professional medical advice is necessary to ensure that the elderly person's needs are properly met.

Ironically professional medical advice may be something that nursing homes residents may never receive or get regularly due to inadequate staffing, and as a result, their health may deteriorate.

The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) 

NAPSA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1991. Its mission is to "promote the well-being of vulnerable adults through education, advocacy, and the provision of technical assistance to adult protective programs."

Do you suspect that your parent or relative is a victim of nursing home neglect while residing at a long-term care facility? If so, act immediately and report nursing home neglect to Adult Protective Services.

The Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines on Nursing Homes (HHS)

The HHS releases new guidelines that nursing homes must follow to protect their residents from neglect. The guidelines are in response to many elder abuse complaints and investigations that have been launched against nursing homes in recent years.

National Center on Elder Abuse

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is a U.S. government program that focuses on preventing elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The NCEA was established in 1994 due to the Older Americans Act of 1965.

The National Center on Elder Abuse is administered by the Administration for Community Living, a division of HHS.

Attorneys Committed to Prosecuting Cases of Elder Neglect in Nursing Homes

Nursing Home Law Center LLC is a leading provider of award-winning legal services. Our law firm has a special legal team dedicated to assisting clients who have loved ones who suffered nursing home neglect and abuse and were injured due to home negligence in a skilled assisted living facility setting.

Contact our attorneys today at (800) 926-7565 to arrange a free legal case review with one of our qualified and experienced nursing home abuse lawyers to learn more about your legal rights and options. If we cannot secure compensation on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.

All personal or confidential information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

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After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric