Nursing home abuse should never happen in New York, or anywhere in our country, but unfortunately it's a problem that's more common than many people would think. If you have a loved one who is a resident of any of the many nursing home facilities in New York, it's understandable that you may be concerned about the quality of care that your family member is receiving. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, most of the nursing homes in the United States aren't able to provide adequate staff, opening the door for numerous possibilities of abuse or neglect. Since nobody wants their loved one to endure mental or physical pain in their final years of life, it's important to be aware of the risks and common types of abuse that happen in nursing homes.
Bed sores, injuries and getting lost
One of the most common types of injuries that nursing home residents face is that of bed sores. The Mayo Clinic says that bed sores are pressure wounds that result from lying in one position for too long without moving. Nursing home staff can neglect immobile residents by not moving them, and inflict further damage by not having bed sores properly treated. This leads to the possibility of deadly infections, such as sepsis or cellulitis.
ABC News reported on other common incidences of abuse, including staff and other residents slapping, punching, choking, kicking or pushing residents. Victims can suffer bruises, broken bones and lacerations, potentially putting them at risk for serious injury or death.
Additionally, cases of neglect can include staff ignoring patients' basic needs. Many residents suffer from malnutrition, dehydration and improper hygiene. Some residents who should not leave their rooms without assistance have wandered off on their own to become lost or injured. In one tragic incident, reported the Times Union, an 85-year-old resident of a nursing home in Ballston Spa wandered away from his room in the middle of the night last December, despite having an alarm that was supposed to alert staff if he walked through a doorway. He was found dead on the grounds, apparently from hypothermia. His daughter had been unhappy with the level of care he was receiving, and had hoped to relocate him to her home. Sadly, the family ended up grieving his untimely death, and wanting answers from the nursing home.
HelpGuide advises family members to visit their loved ones often and watch for signs of neglect or abuse, which can include unexplained weight loss, bruises and untreated wounds, anxiety, mood changes and improper hygiene. Residents who have regular visitors are much less likely to become victims of abuse.
Getting help from an attorney
Nobody wants their loved one to be treated badly by those they entrust to their care. If you or a family member has been affected by nursing home abuse, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options, which may include compensation for your losses.