We don't want to think that our loved ones who are in the care of others might be suffering from abuse or neglect, but unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence in the country. In today's day and age, people living in nursing homes should live in comfort and receive quality medical and daily care, especially if they're in the last stages of life. Sadly, almost 90 percent of the nation's nursing homes provide inadequate care due to staffing problems and other issues, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.
In a report recently released by ABC News, about a third of U.S. nursing homes have been cited for instances of abuse ranging from verbal and emotional abuse to physical assaults. In many of these instances, staff members were reported to actually strike, yell at or sexually abuse those under their care. In other cases, staff members ignored residents' basic needs or failed to recognize when they needed help.
Common types of nursing home injuries
Several types of injuries are especially common, and dangerous, to residents. Among the worst are bed sores, which are caused by lying in one place for too long without moving. This painful wound often occurs in immobilized patients who are being neglected, says the Mayo Clinic. Left untreated, bed sores can become infected with sepsis, cellulitis or cancerous tumors common to chronic wounds.
A former nursing home worker described to WKRG the many instances of abuse she witnessed during her career, including severely infected bed sores that revealed the bones beneath. She said it's important to visit loved ones often, since staff who know they're being monitored will be less likely to mistreat their charges.
Protecting your loved one from abuse
If you suspect that your family member is being abused, you may want to look out for several signs that can signal a problem. These signs include unexplained weight loss, with the patient begging for food; soiled bedding and clothing and apparent unsanitary living conditions; bruises, cuts and bed sores; and changes in the resident's personality, including fear or tension.
Getting help from an attorney
People who live in nursing homes can be hurt in a variety of ways, from preventable falls to intentional mistreatment. Nobody deserves to be treated poorly or put in danger, whether intentional or accidental. If you or a family member has been hurt while under the care of a nursing home, you may be eligible for compensation of your medical expenses. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.