Nursing Home Abuse is at all time highs, despite greater awareness. Millions of elderly residents are subjected to terrible living conditions or simply neglected to the point where they are seriously harmed through lack of care. A government report, prepared by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee in 2001, found that 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States that represents nearly 5,200 homes were associated with over 9,000 abuse reports between in just two years, 1999 and 2000.
The abuse consisted of physical, sexual, verbal and other abuse. More than 1500 cases of abuse were stated to Congress as being so severe as "to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury."
Major Findings of This study concluded:
1.) Thousands of nursing homes are cited for abuse violations each year.
2.) Many nursing homes are repeat offenders with multiple reports of violations.
3.) A large number of the abuse reports actually caused harm to the affected residents.
4.) The incidence of abuse violations has risen dramatically since 1996 from 5.9% to 16% in 2000.
5.) Many of these abuse violations are discovered only after the filling of a formal complaint.
6.) The percentage of nursing home violations is increasing.
7.) The state inspection reports and citations reviewed in the investigation described many instances of appalling physical, sexual and verbal abuse of residents.
8.) The potential for underreporting is common as many incidents never have a formal complaint issued.
9.) Nursing homes that do not accept Medicaid or Medicare funds are not subject to Federal inspections and cannot be cited for violations.
This report finds that abuse of nursing home residents is a widespread and significant problem. In the last two years, nearly one out of every three nursing homes in the United States has been cited for violating federal standards established to prevent abuse of nursing home residents. In over 1,600 of the nursing homes cited for abuse violations, the violations caused actual harm to residents or placed residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury. The review of a sample of state inspection reports and citations in this report indicates that these violations often involve serious abuses that cause significant damage to the health and well-being of nursing home residents.
If you believe a loved one has been subjected to abuse, contact us for an legal evaluation of your situation.
The homes cited by the report for instances of abuse accommodate some 550,000 residents. Nationwide, some 1.6 million people reside in 17,000 nursing homes and 11,000 of them are for-profit businesses. The federal government is the biggest contributor of nursing home care, mostly through Medicaid, a joint federal-state health care program for the poor, and Medicare, the federal program for elderly and disabled people. Federal heath and safety standards are designed to protect nursing home residents from abuse. To enforce the standards, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracts with the states to conduct annual inspections of nursing homes. The states also are required to investigate individual abuse complaints. The report's statistics were derived from these state inspections.
What is Elderly abuse and neglect at a nursing home?
Physical abuse or neglect is any action or failure to act that causes unreasonable suffering, misery, injury or harm to a nursing home resident by a healthcare provider. Physical abuse includes anything from striking or sexually assaulting a resident to withholding necessary and adequate food, physical care or medical attention. Financial abuse includes the misuse of a residentís trust funds to pay for nursing home services already being paid for by a state or federal program and/or the misuse of a residentís funds not authorized by either the nursing home resident or the residentís guardian, trustee, administrator, etc.
It is a sad fact that some elderly nursing home residents are physically and sexually abused or neglected by healthcare workers. In many cases, an abused nursing home resident is totally dependent on the abuser and is afraid or physically unable to complain.
Warning signs of physical abuse, sexual abuse and criminal neglect:
Cuts, black eyes, bruises and burns, especially when the nursing home caregiver cannot adequately explain how they occurred (burns or bruises in an unusual pattern may indicate the use of cigarettes, instruments, or similar items) Residentís fear of being alone with caregivers. Reports of physical abuse, such as, striking a resident, hitting a resident, kicking a resident, punching a resident, throwing an object at a resident, spitting at a resident, burning a resident, pulling on a part of the residentís body, any form of retaliation for a residentís behavior, inappropriate touching of a residentís body, including touching that is not in the usual course of treatment or care, inappropriately kissing a resident.
Unjustified physical contact involves, but is not limited to:
1.) Excessive force in the course of a prescribed treatment or therapy.
2.) Unnecessary physical contact when providing care, comfort or assistance to the resident.
3.) Retaliation against the resident.
Drug diversion abuse:
Drug diversion is another form of abuse, since it deprives the nursing home resident of proper medication. It may also defraud a state or federal program such as Medicaid or Medicare. Drug diversion includes: A health care worker throwing away a nursing home residentís medication, selling it or using it himself/herself, a doctor selling prescriptions, a nurse ordering medication for patients without a doctorís approval.
Resident neglect is the failure of an individual or facility to provide treatment or services necessary to maintain the health or safety of a nursing home resident. Neglect includes, but is not limited to failing to provide medical, dental, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, psychological, speech or other treatments or services. Failing to carry out care plans or specific treatments, failing to provide for the dietary requirements of a resident and failing to provide safety measures.
1.) A 92-year-old resident of a small town nursing home was raped by a male certified nursing assistant. This aide was employed at the facility even though he had a criminal history.
2.) Using a bar of soap that was placed in a sock, an aide repeatedly beat a resident of a human development center because the aide wanted to sit in the reclining chair that the resident was sitting in. After this incident, the facility supervisor violated the law by not reporting the abuse because he simply did not want to fill out the required paperwork.
3.) A convicted felon working at a facility struck a 99-year-old resident in the jaw because the resident was combative.
4.) A 21-year-old male nursing aide was convicted of raping an 89-year-old resident. This female resident had no physical ability to protect herself from this sexually abusive caregiver.
5.) A mentally retarded resident of a human development center was choked by a male aide because the resident would not eat all of his meal.
6.) A female employee of a facility for developmentally disabled children forced a small child to eat his own vomit after the child vomited during his feeding.
7.) On Christmas Day, a nursing home resident was abused by a nurse when the nurse literally jumped on the resident because he failed to comply with the nurseís orders.
8.) A female nursing aide slapped one resident and spit in the face of another resident because the residents acted in a combative manner.
9.) A male employee of a facility for the mentally retarded forcibly performed oral sex on a mentally retarded male resident.
10.) While angry at a combative resident, a female nursing aide choked a different resident in an effort to take out her frustrations against the combative resident.
Examples of Abuse cases:
1.) A nurse failed to give tube feedings and medication to an elderly resident as ordered by a physician. The resident had no other way to receive any sustenance.
2.) A nurse gave two residents ten times the amount of insulin ordered by the physician. This massive overdose resulted in the death of one of the residents and the hospitalization of the other resident.
3.) A female resident was forced to lie in her own feces after an aide refused to help the resident from the bed into a "potty chair." The aide even ridiculed the resident after she soiled herself.
4.) A mentally retarded resident of a human development center was left in his own feces after a male aide refused to clean the resident. The aide then hid this fact from other employees. The feces, which was spread all over the back, legs, and head of the resident, was allowed to dry before the resident was cleaned.
6.) A female nursing aide was captured on videotape dumping out trays of food meant for residents because she did not want to take up any of her time feeding the residents.
7.) Many residents of a nursing home went for weeks without their vital signs and blood pressure taken because an aide did not want to properly do her job. She stated that the vital signs did not have be taken because the residents were eventually going to die, whether she took the vital signs or not.
Whistleblowing Reporting of Suspected Nursing Home Abuse:
If you have reason to believe someone is being abused in a nursing home, simply click on the link below in red for a free case evaluation. Any and all information provided will be kept strictly confidential and will be for the use of our designated attorneys, our investigating agents and the appropriate state and or federal government agency. Whistleblower Rewards Network strictly prohibits the dissemination, distribution or copying of your information to any unauthorized outside parties.
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