It is a sad reality that nursing homes are not nearly as safe as the average person would expect them to be. Some accidents and injuries are to be expected in any setting. However, when harmful incidents are occurring repeatedly and unnecessarily, that is where conduct crosses the line. When the setting is supposed to be specifically designed to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries, this becomes even more unacceptable.
A nursing home is one such setting. Nursing homes exist to provide professional care and a safe environment for elderly individuals who are no longer able to fully care for themselves. Yet, we all know that nursing home abuse and neglect occur more than we would like to think. Now, a report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services suggests that as many as 60% of all nursing home injuries may be preventable.
Troubling Statistics on Nursing Home Injuries
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) is tasked with “protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.” In May 2014, DHHS released the results of a study conducted over the course of several years that examined the prevalence of avoidable injuries in nursing homes and other skilled nursing facilities. These are some of DHHS’s findings:
- As many as 22% of skilled nursing facility patients experienced an “adverse event,” meaning harm suffered as a result of improper or inadequate medical care.
- On top of this 22%, an additional 11% of patients suffered injuries not specifically tied to improper or inadequate care. This means that a third of all patients suffered some form of injury while under supervised care.
- Over half of these injuries required hospitalization for treatment.
- Of all of the injuries examined during the study, an astonishing 59% were either “clearly or likely preventable.”
Think about that: One third of all skilled nursing facility patients suffered injuries, and close to two-thirds of those injuries could have and should have been avoided.
Determining if You or Your Loved One is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Injuries from inadequate or improper care can take almost any form. However, the following injuries and conditions are all common indicators of nursing home abuse or neglect:
- Pressure ulcers (bedsores)
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Injuries consistent with falls or physical abuse
- Injuries caused by physical restraints
- Inadequate or improper medication
- Significant weight loss
- Anxiety and mood swings
If you believe you or a family member may be a victim of neglect or abuse, it is important to take action at the earliest signs of potential mistreatment. Do not be afraid to speak up—as the DHHS’s study shows, you are not alone.
Contact Attorney Seth Gladstein for More Information
To learn more about the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, contact Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC today by calling us or filling out our online contact form. We offer free, no obligation consultations. Contact us today to get the legal representation you need.