In 2009, 39.6 persons in the U.S. were age 65 or older. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, that figure will rise to 72.1 million by 2030, nearly twice the figure in 2000.
As our population ages, the number of elderly Americans in nursing homes and assisted living facilities will continue to soar. By 2020, the demand for nursing homes and assisted living beds will increase by almost 250%. Nearly 50% of all women and 33% of all men will reside in a nursing home at some point.
As with all professionals who have taken on the responsibility for our health and well-being, nursing homes and assisted living facilities must also accept responsibility when our loved ones do not receive the care, dignity, and respect they deserve.
Placing a loved one in a nursing home is a painful process that takes time and research. Once you have entrusted your loved ones in their care, you must be confident that every staff member is treating them properly.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
A nursing home or assisted living facility must provide residents with a “safe and secure environment.” The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) research has found that caregivers abuse 1 and 2 million people over 65. That is disgraceful. And it is actionable. Unfortunately, most of these cases go either undiscovered or unreported. According to the NCEA, only 1 in 14 elder abuse cases are reported.
Often, the patient is embarrassed to tell you. They may not have the capacity to understand the abuse. Here are the signs you should look for when you visit:
- Unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior, such as withdrawal from normal activities or unexplained changes in alertness
- Staff isolates the elder
- Staff is verbally aggressive or demeaning, controlling, or uncaring
- Lack of basic hygiene or appropriate clothing
- Lack of food
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., glasses, walker, dentures, hearing aid, or medications)
- A person with dementia left unsupervised. A person confined in bed is left without care.
- Untreated bed sores or pressure ulcers
- The patient has severe and unplanned weight loss
- Susceptibility to bruising or wounds that do not heal
- Sudden memory problems
- Loss of muscle mass
- Muscle twitches
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Unexplained changes in alertness
- Uncharacteristic or sudden behavioral changes
- Dark colored urine
- Dental problems
- Inflammation or redness in the eyes
- Confusion, disorientation, or an inability to answer questions
- Canker sores or other mouth infections
- Yellow, dry, or flushed skin
- Extreme thirst
- Complaints of dizziness or light-headedness
- Difficulty breathing
If you suspect abuse or neglect of your loved one, report it and seek legal representation immediately.
Tuohy Law Offices has responded to the growing issue of nursing home neglect and abuse by enrolling a group of the most respected and highly skilled attorneys who concentrate in this area. We take this personally. Your family should be treated like ours; we will do whatever it takes to protect them.
Contact us today at 312-559-8400 for a free, no-obligation assessment of your situation.