Nursing homes have certain obligations to their residents, including the obligation to provide a basic minimum level of care. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to fulfill their duty to the patients who count on them. The National Center on Elder Abuse indicates that as many as 44 percent of nursing home residents reported experiencing abuse and 95 percent said they had either been neglected or seen another resident neglected. Abuse and neglect are widespread problems with serious consequences for the health of senior citizens.
There are myriad causes of nursing home abuse and neglect, although there are no excuses for the behavior. Nursing homes can, and should, be held legally responsible when neglect occurs or when nursing home residents are harmed. An experienced San Diego nursing home abuse attorney at Injury Trial Lawyers, APC should be consulted to provide legal assistance when abuse is suspected. An attorney can help victims or their family members to pursue a claim for compensation for loss caused by nursing home abuse and neglect.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Some of the causes of nursing home abuse and neglect include the following:
- An absence of effective regulations. The law requires that nursing homes report when allegations of abuse are made, and also requires that nursing homes are regularly inspected. Unfortunately, these regulations are effective only if they are enforced- and evidence suggests that the laws are not doing enough. A study conducted by the U.S. General Accountability Office, for example, revealed that as many say that as many as 70 percent of state surveys miss at least one deficiency, while 15 percent of surveys miss actual harm occurring or do not see that a nursing home resident is in immediate jeopardy. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services also revealed that just 53 percent of reportable allegations against nursing homes were actually reported according to federal guidelines.
- Understaffing in nursing home facilities. According to ABC News many nursing homes are so understaffed that patients are experiencing serious health consequences as a result, such as bedsores and malnutrition.
- Lack of training. Advocates for the rights of the elderly warn that there is a growing shortage of skilled professionals who can provide the type of care that the aging population needs. Unfortunately, nursing homes may have few trained personnel on staff and may hire aides to provide care that have limited experience and no medical background. The nursing home facilities themselves may not be providing sufficient training to aides that care for residents on a daily basis.
- Low wages. The mean hourly wage for nursing home aides, orderlies and attendants is just $12.22 per hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because nursing home workers are paid relatively low wages for very hard work, there is high turnover and high levels of frustration among staff members. It is also difficult to recruit and keep qualified workers.
While these are all potential causes of nursing home and neglect, the reality is that none of these excuses are a justification for elderly victims suffering abuse. It is the responsibility of the nursing home to provide the appropriate training and supervision and to use hiring criteria that ensure residents are kept safe. If a nursing home fails to live up to these responsibilities, a San Diego injury attorney at Injury Trial Lawyers can help the victims to get compensation they deserve from the nursing care facility.