In the not too distant past, most nursing homes in this country were family-run affairs. The people running the nursing home lived and worked in the community, and the homes were places where seniors and their families could count on compassionate care. Nursing home neglect and abuse were unthinkable. According to a recent report by the American Association for Justice entitled, “Standing Up for Seniors: How the Civil Justice System Protects Elderly Americans,” this situation is changing drastically and senior abuse is on the rise. One of the main reasons is that an ever increasing number of America’s nursing homes are being run by corporations who are often more interested in profits than people. The result is that the corporations cut staffs, services, and standards of care to save some money.
The increasingly corporate nature of nursing homes is having some serious and disastrous effects on the seniors in the care of nursing homes. Many government agencies, non-profit watchdogs, and media organizations consistently find serious instances of nursing home abuse and neglect. By law nursing homes are required to provide their residents with the “highest practicable physical, mental and psychological well-being.” More specifically, they are required to provide food with sufficient nutritional standards, have adequate staff, prevent avoidable pressure sores, limit the use of chemical restraints, etc. Despite these clear regulatory mandates, the laws and regulations are not proving very effective to stop this growing tide of elder abuse and neglect.
Though various laws and regulations do exist on the books to protect seniors, many nursing homes are able to take advantage of loopholes in the law and the limitations of regulations and inspections to skirt their obligations to the seniors in their care. For example, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has highlighted a trend in institutions escaping sanctions by “yo-yoing” in and out of compliance. Nursing homes found in violation have a grace period in which to fix problems without receiving sanctions. Many nursing home fix the problems within the grace period (thus avoiding sanctions), but then allow the problems to reappear later on.
After a long life of hard work and contribution to their families and society, senior citizens should be able to live their final years in peace, well-being, and tranquility. Regulators and legislators are not adequately responding to the immense neglect and abuse perpetrated against vulnerable seniors, but the civil justice system is stepping up to help. Attorneys representing our nation’s senior citizens and their families are playing a critical role in uncovering abuse and neglect, and are an effective force in compelling nursing homes to fix their conduct and prevent further violations.
If someone you love may have been the victim of abuse and neglect by a nursing home, you should seek the advice of an experienced elder abuse attorney. You will not only be able to help your loved one, but you will also help other vulnerable seniors who are also in the home. Contact our offices for a free IMMEDIATE case evaluation. Call 800-259-6373. The call is free. The advice may be priceless.
Call the Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles 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.
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