As residents of the Atlanta, metro area age, many can no longer live on their own and switch their residence to a nursing home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 16,100 nursing homes in the U.S. for the 1.5 million citizens living in nursing homes to choose from. Unfortunately, many of these residents are not properly cared for and endure the effects of elderly abuse.
Nursing home mistreatment
A recent study conducted by researchers from the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee studied cases of elder abuse in nursing homes from 1999-2001. The study consisted of studying 5,283 nursing homes, approximately 30 percent of the nation’s total homes. What they found was that over this two year period, there were 9,000 reported cases of abuse.
Common instances of abuse included providing residents with inadequate medical care, not preventing accidents, dehydrating or not feeding residents enough and failing to provide residents with proper hygiene. Recently, an Atlanta nursing home was investigated for failing to provide their residents with adequate care. Employees at this nursing home had hit patients, failed to change their bed sheets, used restraining devices and allowed convicted felons to work at the location in violation of state regulations, says The New York Times.
Not only were the employees at this care facility abusing residents, but they were also prohibiting residents from their basic rights in a nursing home. According to the Federal Government, nursing home residents have certain rights while they are receiving care. These include the right to:
- Be treated with respect.
- Participate in activities designed for nursing home residents.
- Be free from discrimination.
- Be free from restraints.
- Make complaints about the care they are receiving.
- Receive adequate medical care.
In addition to this list patients also have the right to be free from sexual, verbal and physical abuse as well as neglect.
The impact of elder abuse
When nursing home resident’s rights are denied proper care and abused, the effects can be detrimental. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, nursing home residents that were abused, even mildly, had a 300 percent higher chance of death compared with those residents that had not experienced abuse. Elderly abuse can result in greater health care problems like digestive disorders, problems with their heart and high blood pressure, anxiety and depression and many more.
If you or one of your loved ones was abused or neglected in a nursing home and you want to assert your legal rights, contact a personal injury attorney that can help guide you through the legal process.