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Report Gives Failing Grades for Poor Nursing Home Care

With the nursing home population expected to increase 40 percent in the coming decade – up from the 1.5 million older Americans currently living in nursing homes – concerns about the quality of care in these homes is growing, bolstered by numerous reports of elder abuse by caretakers and subsequent nursing home abuse lawsuit filings.

The National Center for Elder Abuse estimates that there were roughly 20,000 reports of nursing home abuse or neglect in 2003 alone, and that one in 20 nursing home residents has experienced some type of abuse or neglect. Certain states, however, have a much better track record than others.

Elder neglect rampant in nursing homes

A recent report released last month – the first of its kind – gives a failing grade to eleven states in caring for senior citizens and preventing abuse and neglect, while ten states earned high marks.  The  nonprofit elder advocacy group Families for Better Care conducted the state-by-state comprehensive study of nursing home care quality by ranking and grading states based on combined federal data from 2012 on nursing home staffing, inspections, deficiencies and complaints.

While ten states received a grade of “A” in the report, only seven states indicated that nursing home staff provided more than one hour of professional nursing care to senior residents on a daily basis. The American Association for Justice reports that as many as 90 percent of nursing homes in the U.S. are inadequately staffed to provide a high standard of care to residents. Not surprisingly, the states that scored better had larger and more experienced nursing home staff.

According to a CBS News article discussing the report, the results of the study are as follows:

  • States that got A’s: Alaska, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, Utah, Idaho, South Dakota and North Dakota.
  • States that got F’s: Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Michigan, Nevada, Illinois and Iowa.

Hidden cameras reveal abuse

Stories of elder abuse from nursing homes – in states with failing grades or not – are horrifying and have prompted some victims to pursue a nursing home abuse lawsuit. According to the CBS News article, in Oklahoma, a nursing home aide was seen on hidden camera shoving a glove in a senior’s mouth. In Ohio, a state that lacks an adequate number of caregivers and nursing home staff, hidden video caught a nursing assistant roughly flinging a resident onto her bed.

In Texas,  97-year-old great-grandmother Minnie Graham experienced extreme elder abuse at the hands of a caregiver. After Graham, who suffered from dementia, lived in a nursing home near Dallas for about a year, her family began noticing bruises on her body and later, two black eyes. Staff explained that Graham fell out of her wheel chair, but her family grew suspicious and placed a hidden camera disguised in a clock in her bedroom. The camera captured nursing home aides mocking, pulling, pushing and shoving Graham, who sometimes resisted being changed. At one point, the recording also captured a noise that sounds like a slap.

“That should never happen to people, ever, in nursing homes, anywhere,” says Families for Better Care executive director Brian Lee. Elder advocates like Lee are calling for increased accountability for both nursing homes and state officials. Nursing homes should establish a hiring protocol that ensures that caregivers treat residents respectfully, and state officials need to make sure homes are following proper guidelines.

Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit

Nursing home residents and their families can seek legal recourse for elder abuse and may bring a nursing home abuse lawsuit based on several different kinds of claims, including physical, sexual, or verbal abuse, neglect, consumer fraud involving financial abuse, and financial exploitation.

Nursing homes must abide by a high standard of care, and are subject to numerous laws and regulations, including federal, state and local government laws aimed at preventing elder abuse and neglect. Laws vary from state to state, but seniors must be of a certain age in order to bring an elder abuse claim – typically at least 60 or 65.

If someone you know or love has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, they may be able to recover compensation in a court of law. After reporting the abuse to the appropriate authorities, your next step should be to consult New York personal injury lawyers at The Sanders Firm. Boasting more than four decades of experience, our firm has the resources and expertise to help victims purse justice and the compensation to which they may be entitled. Call today for your free case evaluation: 1.800.FAIR.PLAY