With greater numbers of Americans living far longer than their forbears could have imagined, it should come as no surprise that the population of individuals in nursing homes and other residential care settings is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
Data taken from the National Study of Long-Term Care Providers indicates that upwards of 15,600 nursing homes with 1.8 million licensed beds currently exist in the United States, with that number almost certain to rise in the immediate future.
Though it is important to note that the lion’s share of facilities do succeed in providing the type of competent, compassionate and safe care America’s senior citizens need and deserve, there are others in which shameful patterns of abuse and neglect have been observed. Our Louisville injury lawyers are experienced in handling cases involving nursing home patient abuse.
If you or a loved one have received substandard or abusive treatment in a care facility, a Louisville nursing home abuse lawyer stands prepared to take up the fight for justice and compensation.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Reporting from the National Council on Aging reveals that roughly one in 10 individuals in the U.S. over the age of 60 have experienced one form of elder abuse or another. Sadly, it is estimated that just one out of every 14 cases will ever be reported to appropriate authorities.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon relatives, friends, and others to keep a sharp eye out for the signs of common types of abuse and neglect within nursing homes or assisted living sites. These may include:
- Physical abuse
- Neglect of hygiene
- Failure to attend to pressing medical needs
- Verbal abuse
- Psychological mistreatment
- Financial abuse
- Sexual abuse
Knowing the Signs of Elder Abuse
Given the fact that many residents of nursing care facilities have already experienced some degree of communicative and/or cognitive decline, it is unsurprising that a large portion of abuse victims fail to report the situation to their loved ones or others.
As a result, families must remain vigilant and watchful for important signs of mistreatment so that investigations can be initiated whenever necessary. Hallmarks of nursing home abuse can include things such as:
- Unintentional or sudden weight loss
- Sharp decline in personal hygiene
- Unusual agitation
- Aggressive behavior
- Burn marks
- Unanticipated financial strain
- Sudden withdrawal from friendships or favorite pastimes
While the presence of one or more of the circumstances listed above is not necessarily indicative of abuse, emergence of such signs does reveal a need for further inquiry and close monitoring. If nursing home neglect or abuse is suspected, formal investigation and legal intervention can be pursued promptly in order to protect the rights of the most vulnerable among us.
Assessing Quality Nursing Home Care
A study by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation highlights the disparities between different types of nursing home facilities. According to the authors, the Five-Star Quality Rating System promulgated by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) offers some useful metrics for those attempting to compare facilities, but it has also revealed some disturbing facts.
Over a third of facilities certified by Medicaid or Medicare have received low ratings, with 40 percent of Kentucky’s 281 nursing homes receiving ratings of just one or two stars. For-profit facilities, which offer a greater percentage of available beds, also tended to rank lower than non-profit homes in terms of overall care provided.
When transparency related to true staffing levels, quality control measures and patient satisfaction can be difficult for families to obtain, it becomes more important than ever for them to keep a close watch on loved ones who have transitioned into residential senior care facilities. Such dedicated attention really is the best way to identify potential instances of actionable neglect or abuse and stop perpetrators in their tracks.
Advocates for Louisville Seniors and Families
Senior citizens deserve to live their golden years surrounded by safety, security, and comfort. When those we trust to ensure the well-being of our elderly loved ones fail to fulfill their obligations, swift action is required.
To learn how a Louisville nursing home abuse lawyer with our firm can assist in your family’s fight for accountability, contact us today.