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Nursing Home Abuse a Common Phenomenon as Population Ages

By: Allan M. Siegel

The number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to double over the next 30 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And as Americans age, the number of people living in elder care facilities and nursing homes continues to swell. Sadly, many nursing home facilities are more concerned with profit margins than providing quality care to the elderly.

Although no definitive study has settled the question, abuse and neglect are common in nursing homes. A study by the staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found that 30 percent of nursing homes were cited for instances of abuse between 1999 and 2001. More recent research from 2010 suggested that almost half of nursing home attendants have admitted to abusing or neglecting elderly citizens in their care.

DC Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Common problems that result in legal action include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Failure to prevent falls that were foreseeable (i.e., the elderly client is known to be prone to falling)
  • Failure to adequately supervise staff
  • Sexual abuse
  • Medication errors
  • Physical abuse
  • Negligent training of nursing home staff
  • Failure to adequately staff facilities (i.e., not enough people are working to care for the patients)
  • Failing to take proper steps in response to complaints from family members of nursing home patients
  • Failing to let family know about changed condition of patient
  • Failure to comply with applicable federal and state regulations
  • Failing to treat pressure sores

The federal government has taken notice of the widespread problem of nursing home abuse and neglect and passed legislation in response such as the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. Federal law requires that nursing home and elder care facilities report alleged mistreatment, neglect, or abuse, including injuries “of unknown source” to the administrator of the facility and to other officials in compliance with state law. 42 CFR 483.13(c)(2). The facility has to evidence that the complaint was thoroughly investigated. The results of this investigation have to be reported to the administrator and other officials (in accordance with applicable state law) within five days after the incident.

If you suspect that a loved one suffered serious harm because of abuse or neglect in a nursing home or elder care facility, contact the experienced trial attorneys with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, P.C. Over the past four decades, our seasoned team of attorneys have built a reputation of securing significant verdicts through a combination of dedication, knowledge, and informed legal representation. Because important time deadlines apply to filing a claim, we recommend contacting us at your earliest convenience in order to preserve your rights.