We are committed to upholding the quality of long-term care for seniors.
In the United States today, there are about 43.1 million people over the age of 65 — a number that will almost double by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of these older people will need some form of long-term care, whether in the form of a nursing home, residential care community, or other long-term care service.
Unfortunately, this growth in long-term care threatens to make our nursing home abuse problem into an epidemic. If you’re not aware that this problem exists, then consider the following statistics from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA):
- In a 2010 study, more than 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating (e.g. physical violence, mental abuse, neglect) older patients within the prior year in one study. Two-thirds of those incidents involved neglect.
- In a study of 2,000 interviews of nursing home residents, 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.
- According to a 2001 report from the U.S. House of Representatives, nearly 1 in 3 U.S. nursing homes were cited for violations of federal standards that had potential to cause harm or that had caused actual harm to a resident between 1999 and 2001. Nearly 1 out of 10 homes had violations that caused residents harm, serious injury, or placed them in jeopardy of death.
At the Law Offices of George A. Malliaros, we believe that these statistics are unacceptable and that health care facilities and workers who engage in elder abuse and nursing home malpractice need to be held accountable for their actions. If you have an older relative who you know or suspect to have been abused or neglected, we can help.
The Rights of Long-Term Care Patients
Nursing home residents have patient rights and certain protections under the law. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. 1396r(c)(1)(B)(i), the nursing home must list and give all new residents a copy of these rights. Resident rights include but are not limited to:
- Respect: You have the right to be cared for in such a manner as to enhance your quality of life. 42 U.S.C.A. 1396r(b)(1)(A)
- Services and Fees: You must be informed in writing about services and fees before you enter the nursing home. 42 U.S.C.A. 1396r(c)(1)(B)
- Money: You have the right to manage your own money or to choose someone else you trust to do this for you. 42 U.S.C.A. 1396r(c)(6)(A), 42 U.S.C.A. 1396r(c)(6)(B)
- Privacy: You have the right to privacy and to keep and use your personal belongings and property as long as it doesn’t interfere with the rights, health, or safety of others. 42 U.S.C.A. 1396r(c)(1)(A)(iii)
- Medical Care: You have the right to be informed about your medical condition and medications and to see your own doctor. You also have the right to refuse medications and treatments. 42 U.S.C.A. 1396r(c)(1)(A)(i)
Better Awareness of a Growing Problem
Recently, organizations like the NCEA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have managed to increase public awareness of the fact that elderly and dependent adults are especially at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
Although calling attention to the issue is an important first step, this problem continues to grow with the aging population. If you have an older relative in long-term care, you need to remain aware of the possibility of nursing home abuse.
You may be wondering about common signs and symptoms of elder abuse. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Services’ Administration on Aging:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
- A sudden change in financial situation may be the result of exploitation.
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and/or unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.
- Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by a spouse is indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
- A strained relationship and/or frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person are also signs to watch out for.
The NCEA publishes a full list of elder abuse signs and symptoms here.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, you need to contact the police, who can put a stop to it and explore criminal charges. Immediately after that, you should look for an experienced nursing home malpractice attorney who can work to investigate the circumstances of the abuse, review the abused person’s medical records, and potentially recover damages on their behalf.
We Won’t Stand for Nursing Home Abuse
The Law Offices of George A. Malliaros is committed to upholding the quality of long-term care for seniors by taking swift and aggressive legal action against nursing homes and other health care facilities engaging in elder abuse.
If you feel that you or a loved one has been victimized by medical malpractice or other abuse at a long-term care facility, call the Law Offices of George A. Malliaros now at (978) 452-6641 or fill out our online contact form for a free initial consultation with an attorney. We believe that your financial circumstances should not determine whether you have access to justice, so we will only charge you attorney’s fees if and when we make a monetary recovery on your behalf.
Remember that the statute of limitations applies to nursing home abuse cases, so waiting to act could take away your ability to file a lawsuit. Don’t delay — contact our offices today to find about your legal rights and options.
National Center on Elder Abuse. (n.d.). Abuse of residents of long-term care facilities [research brief]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/resources/publication/docs/ncea_ltcf_researchbrief_2013.pdf
Ortman, J.M., Velkoff, V.A., & Hogan, H. (2014, May). An aging nation: The older population in the United States (Current Population Reports, P25-1140). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1140.pdf
What is elder abuse? (n.d.). Administration on Aging. Retrieved from http://www.aoa.gov/AoA_programs/elder_rights/EA_prevention/whatisEA.aspx