In 2003, according to the federal Administration on Aging, there were over 20,000 cases of elder abuse, gross neglect, or exploitation reported on behalf of nursing home residents. Of the seven types of abuse or neglect, physical abuse is the most common, but the preventable nursing home injury is the most lamentable.
To keep costs low, some nursing homes rely on short-term or temporary nursing aides. While this helps the nursing home’s bottom line, high turnover can demoralize nursing home employees and allow quality of care to suffer. Nursing homes that decide to keep employees long-term by paying good wages and benefits and providing opportunities for upward mobility may have to change the way they manage employees, but after the initial costs, they often find the new way is better. Consistent care and adequate staffing can help in catching medical problems in the early, treatable stages. Higher quality of care can also prevent falls and bedsores.
There are some things you can do to help prevent a nursing home injury. Be careful when choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one. Ask questions about staffing levels, health inspection results, and quality measures. Talk to the caregivers, not just the people in the front office. If your family member lives at a nursing home, visit as often as you can on different days and times to gauge the level of care throughout the week. If you suspect neglect or abuse, call your state licensing agency for nursing homes—the agency is required to investigate a complaint.
In an ideal world, your loved one would never suffer a nursing home injury due to neglect or lack of care. However, if your loved one has experienced an injury while under nursing home care, you should speak to a personal injury attorney to determine your options in remedying the situation.
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