Acts of Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes: A Serious Problem that Needs to be Dealt With As Soon As Possible

There are about 15,600 nursing home facilities located all across U.S. that provide shelter to more than 1.3 million residents (statistics for 2014). Nursing facility residents include elders (65 years old or older), individuals who are chronically ill or disabled and in need of rehabilitative therapy, and those who are physically or mentally incapacitated. All of these facilities promise the same thing: monitoring of medication, 24-hour emergency care, social and recreational activities and personal care, which includes dressing, bathing, and toilet assistance: in a nutshell, high quality of life in a well-maintained setting.

Contrary to the provision of quality care that is required under the law and which residents are made to expect, so many of them are rather made to experience abuses and neglect or lack of care, many of which result to malnutrition or dehydration, failure to accommodate medical needs, lack of proper hygiene or sanitation, bedsores, and even wrongful death. In fact, thousands of abuses and neglect get reported every year; yet, despite this high number, many authorities and experts believe that so many more remain unreported, especially the more sensitive and humiliating cases, like sexual abuses.

To protect residents, as well as to make sure that needs are always attended to, the U.S. Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act into law in 1987. This Act mandates that nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid or which receive Medicare and Medicaid funds, have the legal responsibility to “provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.” (http://www.nursinghomealert.com/federal-nursing-home-regulations-and-state-laws)

Another law that is aimed at ensuring the well-being of residents is the Federal Nursing Home regulation, which says that residents have the right to be free from involuntary seclusion, corporal punishment, and all kinds of abuses, which include physical, mental, verbal and sexual abuse.

As defined under federal nursing home regulations, abuse can be any form of act that: inflicts injury; deprives care or service; causes intimidation; results in unreasonable confinement or punishment that causes physical harm and/or mental anguish. Neglect, which may be intentional or non-intentional, is failure to provide the necessary care and service which will ensure freedom from pain or harm, or failure to assist a resident during potentially dangerous situations which can possibly result to harm or anxiety.

Knowing that unscrupulous nursing home staff and management often fail in providing adequate care for the needs of residents or, worse, actively engage in harmful behavior towards elderly individuals, the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.® informs residents and their loved ones of their right to take legal action against those responsible for any inexcusable behavior. Nursing home neglect, the firm continues, is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible – in order to stop current abuses and to protect future nursing home residents from those prone to committing any act of abuse.

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