Friday, June 29, 2007

Elder Abuse: Nursing Home Neglect Is a Widespread Problem

Editor: Clayton W. Kent Firm: Brayton Purcell LLP

A nursing home is guilty of neglect when it fails to fulfill its duties to its residents. These obligations can range from providing special diets to taking a frail, elderly person to the toilet at appropriate times. Refusing to answer a resident's page or failing to call his or her doctor may also be neglect.

A bedridden nursing home resident should be repositioned at least every two hours to relieve body pressure. Without this care, the resident may develop inflamed, reddened skin or bedsores (also called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers). If a bedsore is not treated, skin tissue breaks down and a large wound is formed.

Bedsores are often signs that the nursing home is neglecting residents' nutritional and hygiene needs. Skin breakdown can occur when a resident becomes incontinent and urine and feces are not cleaned up promptly. Improper nutrition may also affect the skin, inhibiting healing.

Poor nutrition and dehydration may cause other health problems. You should be concerned if an elderly relative has lost a great deal of weight while in the nursing home.

Many nursing home violations and complaints are due to understaffing. Otherwise qualified nurses and health professionals may be unable to adequately care for residents, not because of lack of compassion or aptitude, but because they are overloaded and overwhelmed. Nevertheless, the nursing home management owes a legal and moral duty to residents and their families to hire enough employees and to provide proper care. The health of your loved one should not be compromised.


Dear Mr. Kent;

Thank You for contributing to our on going discussion here on E.A. on Elder Abuse and we could not agree with you more, Elder Abuse and neglect is a widespread problem.

We folks at ElderAbuseHelp.Com are very much aware of the problem and are concentrating our efforts on finding solutions - We would like to ask that more attorneys like you who are concerned with elder abuse volunteer their expertise to help elders in need ! We are aware of many Doctors who volunteer their time to help unfortunate people overcome difficult problems though organizations such as Doctors Without Borders.

A recent report by the Florida DCF says that the vast majority of elder abuse happens at home by a trusted caregiver or family member, none the less all kinds of elder abuse are abominable and should be sanctioned.

There are many people that are concerned with Elder Abuse at nursing homes, yet have never volunteered their time to make it better, Nursing Homes like many businesses have a hard times getting help,and a few volunteers would go a long way.

The pay scale in nursing homes is lower than in most industries, such as the construction industry for instance, so the majority of health care workers in nursing homes are there because they identify with helping these people whose families are in too many cases to busy to assume this responsibility themselves.

While we agree that the nursing home management owes a legal and moral duty to residents and their families, we are also cognizant of the long hours that they work with out pay and also strongly believe that Society should also accept their share in the responsibility of caring for our elders, and not expect miracles from an industry that is understaffed, underpaid, and under appreciated.

Help an elder today and volunteer your time at the nearest nursing home, most homes will greatly appreciate your help and you will do your share in cutting down on those bedsores, and encourage elders to spend more time out of bed and in motion because there is someone who cares there to visit with them !

Comments by Ray Fernandez


Rose said...

Reading your post reminds me of how grateful I am that my mother was in a very good nursing home! I saw how much the staff cared for their residents and I am so very glad and so very grateful that my mother was in a place such as this.

Anonymous said...

I spend hundreds of hours in homes as an ombudsman and a performer. There are good and there are bad. The bigger issue is that we need to start educating people about older life choices before they become a crisis situation. Smart facilities will start to build relationships long before people need them. And until they are better funded, don't look for the percentage of "green" houses to get much beyond what there are today. Make no mistake, with a World Health Ranking of 37th, chronic conditions abounding, we will need these facilities so instead of knee jerk suing at the drop of a dime, it is time to work together with the industry to make it better. All you are doing is adding costs to the system.

Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, ABC