This article is a guest post by Leslie E. Krick. You can read more about her in the resource box at the end of this article.
3 reasons why nursing home abuse and neglect is on the rise
We see them in the newspaper, on television, and even recreate them in the movies. However, horror stories about nursing home abuse happen in real life, probably in your own state or community. Nursing homes abuse and neglect are on the rise across North America, and sadly, what we see in movies and at a distance on television isn’t far from the reality. For many people, including myself, there comes a time when caring for parents and grandparents, whether it’s an issue of age, accident (i.e., hip replacement), or medical condition (Alzheimer’s Disease) , becomes something you don’t have the expertise to handle.
When elder care becomes too burdensome, we often turn to nursing homes like I did with my grandfather. Unfortunately, he was stricken with Alzheimer’s 5-years after my grandmother passed away. He also succumbed to arthritic knees, and it got so bad that he was confined to a wheelchair. Unable to lift him from bed or to the bath safely, I found it was time to trust his care to a nursing facility.
I am familiar with nursing home horror stories and lawsuits due to me working with several attorneys, so I thought I was prepared. However, my family, like many others each year, entrust a loved one’s primary care to a nursing home without doing the proper research. The last thing we expect is to have our parent, sibling, child, or grandparent subjected to abuse and neglect. However, sadly, we hear more and more instances of abuse, injury, or even death caused by poor and neglectful nursing home providers.
Here are the most common issues that threaten quality nursing home care:
1. Larger doesn’t necessarily mean superior care
It makes sense that the larger the facility; the more quality the staff, care, and services, right? Wrong! The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that serious health deficiencies (i.e., such as unclean facilities, unsafe food preparation, and etc.) are 19-percent higher at nursing homes owned by large investment companies with large nursing facilities.
2. Cutting costs
Between 2000 and 2008, investment companies starting buying nursing homes from private owners because they were a lucrative way to make a buck. In relation, instances of
3. Nursing care as profit
Today, it’s a sad reality that nursing homes are seen as profitable businesses ventures rather than quality health care facilities. With private investment companies purchasing more and more nursing facilities and cutting costs regulatory care standards are not being respected. Plus, the corporate structure of these investment companies is able to shield the facility and its poor practices from liability so abused residents and families are often unsuccessful in lawsuits or bringing about justice if a loved one’s health or life is compromised.
What to Look for When Selecting a Nursing Home
Finding and trusting a nursing home to provide adequate care for your loved one can be an anxiety-ridden mission. That’s why the Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA) offers the following things to consider when searching for a quality home care facility:
- Choose a nursing home location in or near your home so you can visit often and even drop in unexpectedly
- Take a full tour of nursing homes and ask what services and visually inspect rooms and facilities
- Meet with the administrators and talk to staff and residents on your visit
- Ask to see administrators’ licenses and qualifications
- Judge the facility on its welcoming environment—do residents appear happy, engaged, content, etc?
- Do rooms offer a certain amount of privacy for residents?
- Do rooms offer private bathrooms?
- Are the visiting hours convenient for you and family members?
- Take a meal with your loved one in the cafeteria to judge menu, staff service, duration of meals, and meal assistance (if needed)
- Ask about the types of activities for residents—i.e., games nights, live music, spa services, etc.
- Stick around to see how staff deals with emergency calls—are they prepared, courteous, what is the respond time?
- Are there resident rights posted in plain view for everyone to see and read?
- Is the cost appropriate for the level of care?
- Is there a doctor’s office, dental office, and hospital nearby?
About The Author
Leslie Krick is a staff writer for attorneys Bachus & Schanker on topics relating to employment, labor and state law. She is also an active member in her community as well as a member of Amnesty International.