legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Nursing Homes in Wisconsin
According to Medicare.gov, there are 338 nursing homes in Wisconsin. Of these facilities, 209 (62%) nursing homes rank at or above the national average. The remaining 129 (38%) Nursing homes are ranked below average or much below average.
The Dangers of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Any mistreatment can have devastating consequences for patients in nursing homes in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents are abused and neglected by caregivers, leading to severe injuries or death.
There are numerous warning signs indicating that a nursing home resident is being abused or neglected, including:
- Sudden changes in mood or behavior
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Unexplained aggressive behavior
- Unexplained bruises and injuries
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Social isolation in a public area or private room
Family members and friends suspecting their loved one is being abused or neglected should act immediately and report their concerns to the nursing home staff, administrators, and local authorities.
If anyone does not take your concerns seriously or does not take appropriate action, contact Adult Protective Services and consult with an experienced attorney from our law office who can help you understand your legal options to protect your loved one’s rights.
Failure to Protect Every Resident from All Forms of Abuse, Including Physical and Sexual Assault, Physical Punishment, and Neglect by Anybody
Nursing home staff negligence and failure to report abuse can lead to severe patient harm. Negligence can include not providing necessary care, failing to properly monitor patients, or not reporting abuse. Abuse can include physical, sexual, or emotional mistreatment.
When staff do not provide proper care or do not report abuse, residents can suffer severe harm, including death. It is important for families of nursing home residents to be aware of the dangers of staff negligence and abuse and to be vigilant in monitoring their loved one's care.
Below is a small sample of violations, citations, and failures occurring in skilled nursing homes in Wisconsin.
- Failure to provide sufficient staffing to care for all patients led to inadequate staffing levels where patients did not receive showers/baths, adequate supervision to prevent falls, and care and treatment for their medical conditions. One incident involved a resident who admitted herself to a hospital due to extreme pain and was not getting assistance from the nursing staff. (Bria of Trinity Village)
- Failure to ensure residents are free from verbal and mental abuse after a Certified Nursing Assistant yelled, slammed doors, and complained when a resident did not use his call light despite needing assistance because he did not want the feeling of intimidation, being afraid, or being yelled at. (Monroe Health Services)
- Failure to ensure the residents were free from physical abuse after one resident reported being struck on the chin by her roommate and another patient reported they had been pulled out of their bed on three occasions, resulting in actual harm requiring treatment in an emergency room. (Villa at Bradley Estates)
- Failure to self-report to the state agency an alleged incident of abuse per state law after a patient reported that a Licensed Practical Nurse at the facility talked to her negatively in the common area in front of a coworker that was documented in a grievance form and medical records but was never reported to the state agency. (Villa at Bradley Estates)
- Failure to provide essential life support, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) involving residents requiring emergency care, resulted in one patient’s death after being found unresponsive, pulseless, and not breathing. (Alexian Village of Milwaukee)
- Failure to ensure residents receive adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents after a patient left the facility without the staff’s knowledge and could not return independently before a staff member found the resident, assisting him to the skilled nursing home. (Bay at Belmont Health and Rehabilitation Center)
- Failure to ensure an internal investigation was reported to the state agency after a patient sustained a fall in February 2022 when the Certified Nursing Assistant failed to follow the patient’s care plan, resulting in a fracture. (Bethany Home Skilled Nursing Center)
- Failure to ensure that allegations of neglect were reported to the state agency after a patient’s sister filed a complaint with the skilled nursing home administrator about seeing her sister in bed having soiled herself after the patient had used the call light because they needed to go to the bathroom very badly. (Heritage Health Services)
- Failure to report an injury of unknown origin to the state survey agency after staff discovered the resident had a bruise on the right breast that extended under the arm. (Kensington Care and Rehabilitation Center)
- Failure to ensure that an allegation of neglect was reported to the state agency as required after the resident indicated that they waited two hours for nursing staff to answer the call light to receive urinary care. (Maplewood Center)
- Failure by the nursing facility to report allegations of abuse to the State Survey and Certification Agency after a resident experienced verbal abuse. (Meadowbrook at Appleton)
Nursing Homes in Wisconsin
Registered and licensed nurses and certified nursing assistants in nursing homes are supposed to care for Wisconsin residents who cannot care for themselves.
But many nursing homes fail to meet basic safety and quality standards to ensure that disabled and elderly persons receive the highest level of nursing care by competent medical professionals and specialists.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS), skilled nursing home residents often suffer physical injuries due to neglect and abuse. Some even die because of these conditions. In 2020, more than a million Americans were elder abuse and neglect victims. Many of them lived in Wisconsin nursing homes.
The Best Nearby Nursing Homes
Nursing homes are places where elderly patients live during recovery after surgery or illness. They're often called long-term care facilities because they offer medical treatment and rehabilitation to help patients recover.
When looking for a skilled nursing home, ask questions about safety, security, staff training, and quality of care. Ask about the facility's policies regarding:
- Medication use
- Food preparation
- Infection control
Also, find out whether special programs are available for seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).
The state requires Wisconsin nursing homes and long-term care centers to report certain information to the Department of Health Services. The data should include statistics on patient deaths, injuries, and complaints.
Our lawyers have reviewed each nursing home and rated them according to several criteria, including staffing ratios, nurse aide wages, and overall ratings.
Reports of Abuse from Residents and Families
A study published in April 2018 found that nearly 80% of employees in nursing homes across the United States witnessed psychological abuse in the previous twelve months. In addition, almost half of the workers surveyed admitted to committing psychological abuse.
The study was led by researchers at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing and published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing. Researchers interviewed 472 employees at 104 facilities across ten states regarding their experiences with residents and families.
They found that 81% of respondents had seen or heard verbal abuse directed toward a patient, while 40% had personally experienced it.
Researchers also noted multiple forms of psychological abuse, including yelling in anger, insulting and swearing at a patient, threatening to hit or throw objects, and denying food or other privileges.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is a serious issue affecting thousands in Wisconsin nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities yearly.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, at least 1/10 residents suffer some form of mistreatment during their stay in skilled nursing facilities, senior living centers, and intermediate care facilities.
- Over half of Wisconsin nursing homes report having had at least one case of patient abuse or neglect in the past year.
- More than 40% of nursing homes reported having experienced at least one incident of physical abuse in the last 12 months.
- Nearly 30% of Wisconsin nursing homes reported experiencing at least one incident of sexual abuse in the last 12-month period.
- Almost 20% of nursing homes reported at least one incident of psychological abuse in the last year.
- Approximately 80% of nursing homes reported no staff training in elder abuse prevention.
What Causes Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. When someone fails to meet basic needs like food, water, shelter, clothing, supervision, and medical treatment, it can lead to serious health problems and even death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 4 million Americans yearly suffer physical abuse.
Most nursing home neglect cases stem from inadequate staffing levels. A National Center for Health Statistics study found that the average hours per day spent caring for patients ranged from 5.6 to 7.1 across different states. But in many facilities, caregivers work more than ten hours a day and sometimes longer.
Other contributing factors that lead to nursing home neglect and abuse include:
- Lack of sufficient training: The recent pandemic has led to many healthcare professionals, including nurses and nurse aides, leaving their jobs to work in other careers, which has increased the demand for new hires who are not sufficiently trained to provide care that meets each resident's needs.
- Poor communication between staff members: Staff members may be unaware of what is happening to their patients due to poor communication.
- Inadequate funding and financial assistance: Many Wisconsin nursing homes have been forced to cut back on staff because they cannot afford to pay adequate salaries.
- Improper documentation: Wisconsin nursing home caregivers must document any incidents of neglect or abuse so that authorities can properly investigate every incident.
- Failing to follow procedures and protocols: Every nursing home must develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure patient safety when following the patient's care plan.
How to Identify Negligent Behavior in Nursing Homes in Indiana
Unfortunately, not all Wisconsin nursing homes live up to acceptable standards of care. The long-term care staff may sometimes be overworked, under-trained, or simply negligent. As a result, your loved one may suffer from neglect or abuse.
Some signs may indicate negligent behavior in a nursing home:
Your Loved One Is Dirty or Has Bedsores
A Wisconsin nursing home staff member's fundamental duty is to ensure that patients are clean and well-groomed. If you notice that your loved one is frequently dirty or has developed bedsores, it may indicate that they are not receiving proper medical care to ensure the patient’s well-being
Your Loved One Has Lost a Significant Amount of Weight
Another basic need that long-term care residents have is food and nutrition. If you notice that your loved one has lost a significant amount of weight, it may mean that they are not being fed properly or given enough to eat.
Your Loved One Is Frequently Dehydrated
Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, so it's crucial to ensure that nursing home residents get enough fluids. It may indicate dehydration if you notice that your loved one is often thirsty or has dry skin.
Your Loved One Seems Withdrawn or Depressed
Suppose your loved one seems unusually withdrawn or depressed. In that case, it may signify that they are not being properly taken care of by the competent staff, possibly due to neglect, abuse, or simply not meeting their needs regularly.
You Notice Bruises or Other Injuries on Your Loved One's Body
Bruises and other injuries can happen for many reasons, but if you notice them regularly, they may indicate abuse or neglect. Be sure to ask your loved one about any bruises or injuries you see and take note of any explanations given by the staff.
Your Calls to the Facility Are Not Promptly Returned, or You're Not Allowed to Speak With Your Loved One When Calling (Quality Assurance Issues)
Nursing homes should be accessible and responsive to the needs of both patients and their families. If you find that your calls are not being promptly returned or unable to speak with your loved one when you call, it may cause concern.
You Notice Changes in Your Loved One's Financial Situation
If you notice changes in your loved one's financial situation (e.g., unexplained withdrawals from their bank account), it may indicate fraud or theft by the nursing home staff. It is especially true if unexplained withdrawals from their bank account or new charges on their credit card statements.