What do you expect when you put a loved one in a nursing home? Do you expect loving, respectful care or do you expect that your loved one will suffer from elder neglect in the forms of malnutrition, dehydration, pressure sores from being left in bed, or worse? According to a recent report from the American Association for Justice, entitled “Standing Up for Seniors: How the Civil Justice System Protects Elderly Americans,” it’s the latter that is far too often the case for our nation’s seniors in nursing homes.
The “Standing Up for Seniors” report discusses several cases of senior abuse in nursing homes: Margaret Hutcheson was admitted to a nursing home for short-term rehabilitation. She was supposed to return back home. Instead, in the short time she was there, she suffered severe pressure sores, malnourishment, dehydration, and eventually death. Another patient with Alzheimer’s slipped and fell in a bathtub after being left unattended. He was in an overflowing bath for at least 15 minutes before the staff found that he’d died from drowning. To add insult to injury, the nursing home officials attempted to have the autopsy report altered. Other cases of elder neglect abound: a nursing home resident lost a leg after it became infested with maggots; an Alzheimer’s patient was trapped in a freezer and died; a Florida nursing home resident suffered from multiple falls, multiple pressure sores, infections, dehydration and eventually death by starvation. The report also describes a 2004 investigation by the Detroit News that found that 14,000 nursing home residents died nationwide of malnutrition and dehydration over a four-year period!
As nursing homes are increasingly being taken over by for-profit corporate chains, the pressure to cut costs and lower staffing levels grows. As a direct result, instances of elder neglect have risen in recent years. Regulatory systems have proved to be largely ineffective in stemming this increase. However, elder abuse lawyers representing seniors have been getting results. They are not only getting compensation for the elderly victims and their families, but are getting the nursing homes to make crucial changes that protect all the residents. In the case of Margaret Hutcheson, the 78-year-old woman who died from malnourishment and dehydration, attorneys obtained an agreement from the nursing home corporation that it would change its patient monitoring and care procedures in each of its 65 homes. In the case of the Alzheimer’s patient who drowned, the attorneys not only succeeded in holding the nursing home accountable to the family, they also forced the home to install safety strips in bathtubs throughout the nursing home.
What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse or Neglect:
Call the police or 9-1-1 immediately if someone you know is in immediate, life-threatening danger. If the danger is not immediate, but you suspect that one of your loved ones is currently or has been the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you should seek the advice of an experienced elder abuse attorney. You may be able to not only help your loved one, but other vulnerable seniors who are also in the home. Contact our elder abuse lawyers for a free IMMEDIATE case evaluation. Call 800-259-6373. The call is free. The advice may be priceless.
Call a Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys elder abuse lawyer for a free professional evaluation of your rights by attorneys who have been representing victims of nursing home abuse since 1978. You will experience award winning representation and outstanding personal service by a compassionate and understanding law firm in a comfortable environment.
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.