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Posted by Toni on Oct 20, 2016

Some Alarming Facts about Nursing Homes in the U.S.

After having investigated two reported cases of nursing home abuse committed at the Merry Heart Senior Care Services facility, certified nursing assistant Corazon D. Mangona was found guilty of four counts of physical abuse which specifically involved hair pulling and nipple pinching on one patient, and hand slapping and mouth squeezing on another patient; she was arrested on August 25, 2015.

Nursing home facility employees getting convicted and arrested due to physical and/or other forms of abuse is no longer uncommon news. A study conducted by a staff from the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee shows that, from January 1999 to January 2001, about 9,000 instances of abuse were committed in 5,283 nursing home facilities. Besides the physical, financial, emotional, verbal and, sexual (which is the most degrading of all) abuses, however, majority of nursing homes were also guilty of acts of neglect. These act included, but are not limited to: failure to provide needed medical care and attention, failure to keep beds (of residents) and common facilities sanitary and hygienic, acts that resulted to dehydration and/or malnutrition, and non-treatment of bedsores. These abuses and acts of neglect are almost regularly committed in facilities where there is not enough number of staff or where staff members lack the training on proper care of residents and, alarmingly, the website NursingHomeAbuseGuide.org says that more than 90% of nursing homes are currently understaffed.

Nursing home understaffing is sometimes intentionally done by some facility owners for increased profit. At other times, it is due to the difficulty in finding or retaining enough properly trained nurses. More alarming than the understaffed issue, however, are the statistical information on nursing homes that are posted in the website of Masters in Health Care. According to the site:

  • 257,872 complaints involving nursing homes were made in 2007. These complaints were related to staffing, facilities and quality of care;
  • Due to lack of staff, a nurse’s aid can have as many as 15 residents/patients assigned to him/her. Sometimes, nurse’s aid to patients ratio can go as high as 1:30;
  • At least one convicted criminal is employed in 92% of all nursing homes in the U.S.: and,
  • About 20% of all cases of abuses ever get reported.

Though many acts of abuses are committed by nursing home staff members themselves, other liable parties include doctors, co-residents and visiting family members or other relatives.

Physical abuse is a common type of abuse committed in nursing homes. Its immediate effects include bruises, welts, cuts, lacerations, bone fractures and dislocations, head or back injuries,internal injuries, internal bleeding, and chronic pain.

Not only are nursing home residents and patients dependent on facility staff for food, bathing, medication, and grooming; they are also defenseless when hurt and easy to scare so that they just keep the acts of abuses to themselves. As pointed out by a nursing home abuse lawyer from the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., exposing anyone of these vulnerable residents and patients to deplorable conditions can easily result in serious injuries, illnesses, emotional trauma, and even death.

Any type of abuse, especially against elders, is inexcusable. Caring family members should know that they can take legal action against the perpetrator of the abusive acts to make them realize that their unlawful acts will never be overlooked or go unpunished.

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