While most people do not like to think about a time when they will be old and unable to care for themselves, the truth is that since the life expectancy in New Jersey and across the United States is rising, the odds are high that many people will need to eventually be placed in a facility that provides around the clock in their senior years. Whether it is due to health concerns, time constraints, or other factors, a nursing home may be the right solution for your elderly loved one. Most nursing homes are excellent environments and have caring, professional staff who properly tend to residents. Unfortunately, given the rising instances in nursing home abuse and neglect, many families may find themselves needing the legal assistance of a nursing home lawyer Cherry Hill, NJ clients trust.
Study on Aging and Nursing Homes
A recent study concluded that more than half of seniors in this country will have to stay at a nursing home at some point in their lives. The study was conducted by researchers from the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. The data used for the study was collected over an 18-year period and used in the Health and Retirement Study funded by the National Institute on Aging and the U.S. Social Security Administration.
The study found that more than 50 percent of senior citizens will need care from either an assisted living facility or a nursing home at least once during their life. The majority of the stays at nursing homes will be short and usually financially manageable. Approximately five percent of adults will likely spend more than 1,500 days in nursing homes.
These estimates are higher than what the federal government had previously estimated the need for. Studies by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded that only 35 percent of seniors will need nursing home care during their lifetime.
A Cherry Hill, NH nursing home lawyer knows that many nursing homes already face critical staff shortages, as well as untrained and inexperienced staff. The projection of increased need on an already overburdened nursing home system also means that there will likely be an increase in the incidents of abuse and neglect residents will suffer. Ultimately, nursing homes are responsible for making sure that their residents are safe and are provided the care they need. If staff in a nursing home facility are stretched too thin, it can make them prone to making critical mistakes that can lead to a resident becoming injured. If understaffing issues persist, it can severely affect the quality of resident care. If you visit a nursing home and notice any signs that point to potential neglect, you should report the issue.
The current rates of abuse and neglect are already horrifying. A report prepared by the United States Congress revealed that approximately one-third of the nursing homes in this country have been cited for violations that put nursing home residents at high risk of harm. And even more alarming is the result of one survey of nursing home residents where 45 percent of the participants said they had been victims of abuse while staying in a nursing home. Ninety-five percent said they had witnessed another resident neglected by a member of the staff.
Tips for Evaluating Nursing Homes
Finding a trusted nursing home with positive ratings can be confusing if you do not know where to start or know what criteria to go off of. If your loved one is moving to a nursing home, there are several things you should do during your search.
A good place to start would be by conducting an online search of reputable nursing home facilities. You can find descriptive reviews of certified nursing homes through government websites such as Medicare.gov. They have a feature that allows you to compare multiple nursing homes near you or a specific location. They include information such as a five star rating system, resident care quality, available beds, and other resources. Along with nursing homes, you can find detailed information on home health centers, doctors, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and more.
Before you choose a nursing home, it is recommended to visit the site with your elderly loved one in person multiple times. You want to go multiple times so you can ensure that the quality of care is consistent. Talk to the management, nurses, and other staff there to get an idea of the kind of services that the center offers. It is important that you get as much information as you can, so don’t be hesitant to ask specific questions. Ask about any services or amenities that the nursing home offers, such as free transportation to appointments, physical therapy, or recreational activities. Take note of the cleanliness of each room and how the residents interact with the staff. Does the staff seem kind and pleasant? Do the residents have a positive view of the facility? You want to get an accurate sense of the atmosphere and quality of the center to make sure that it’s the right environment for your loved one.
What is nursing home neglect?
Nursing home neglect is the failure of a staff member to uphold the standard of care in a facility. It can occur due to negligent hiring practices, lack of staff training, and understaffing. Negligence can be harder for loved ones to spot than abuse, but it can be just as damaging.
In cases of neglect, staff may fail to:
7 Ways to Prove Your Nursing Home Neglect Allegations Are True
Whether it was a one-time event or chronic episodes of abuse, you have the right to hold those parties accountable for their egregious acts.
You can prove your allegations legitimacy by:
1. Watching and Noting the Signs of Abuse
We are at a critical time in our country where senior citizens rely heavily on long-term care. Loved ones must be proactive, not only when picking a nursing home, but when examining that nursing home after their family member begins their stay. Knowing the signs of abuse or neglect is critical to your case as it can help out with proving your case through evidence and even through testimonies. Some indicators your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect include:
2. Obtain Their Nursing Home and Medical Records
If the nursing home participates in Medicare or Medicaid programs, you can receive your loved one’s nursing home records. Review those records and look for inconsistencies, including unnecessary treatments, use of medications, or a lack of explanation for injuries.
Medical records could indicate periods of abuse or neglect, including treatments for injuries, hospitalizations for dehydration and malnutrition, medical treatments for bed sores, and other health complications associated with substandard care. When these issues have occurred to your loved one, it is best to always listen to them and give them the care that they need. They may also need some time to heal from these traumas.
Photographs are powerful pieces of evidence. These can include pictures of the resident’s living situation – such as soiled bedding or unsafe premises. Pictures of injuries or the condition you found your loved one can also prove your claims.
4. Ombudsman Complaints
Local ombudsman programs will have a detailed record of any complaints filed against the nursing home and their outcome. Frequent allegations of abuse or neglect can help prove a history of substandard care at that facility.
5. Witness Statements
A nursing home may abuse or neglect patients carelessly and leave behind witnesses. Witnesses might include other residents, family members visiting residents, or employees of the facility.
6. Inspections and Licenses
Past inspections by the state, including citations received, may help prove that the facility has a record of violating state requirements. Also, some nursing homes may advertise their services without being licensed. Pulling these records might require the assistance of a lawyer.
7. Hiring a Lawyer
Proving negligent or abusive care from a nursing home involves plenty of red tapes. You need to obtain records from county and state governments, and you may need to file motions to compel the nursing home to supply documents.
A lawyer can help you break through these roadblocks and obtain the evidence you need to prove your case.
Let Our Firm Help
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious issue that occurs too often in the U.S. It is crucial to take urgent action if you notice even just one potential sign of abuse. Nursing home lawyers understand that the notion of filing a claim can be stressful, but it is important that your loved one obtains justice if they have suffered abuse.
Thankfully, there are resources available if this issue occurs. If your elderly loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, your family has the right to seek financial justice against those responsible for their pain and suffering. No elderly individual should have to go through the impact of trauma and suffering alone.
An experienced lawyer is there to help you file a claim. Call Davis & Brusca, LLC to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a nursing home lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ today.