Common Practices that Lead to Abuse in Elder Care Facilities
Nursing home negligence is, unfortunately, more commonplace than anyone likes to admit. According to the National Council on Aging, “Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse.” Many inadequate facilities actively participate in hiring or sanitation practices that increase the likelihood of abuse occurring at their facility. The following are typical methods seen in elder care facilities with increasing incidents of resident abuse:
Understaffed Facilities. Federal law only requires one registered nurse to be on duty at any given time at a nursing facility. Similarly, there are no minimum staffing requirements for nurse’s aides (the workers who provide the most direct, day-to-day care). Many nursing homes use this law as an excuse to staff their facilities with the least amount of employees necessary in order to cut overhead expenses and collect more profit. Understaffed facilities are a major reason that many elderly nursing home residents do not receive the level of care and attention they need.
Negligent Hiring. Due to stressful and unfavorable working conditions, many nursing facilities are in constant need of new employees. Therefore, important employee credential checks and criminal background investigations go unfinished as nursing homes try to fill vacancies quickly.
Inadequate Staff Training. Many elder care facilities offer free training courses to potential employees as a way to entice them into working for their facility. However, these training courses are often poorly structured and designed to meet the minimum amount of training required by law. These inadequate methods oftentimes lead to insufficient employees who don’t know how to properly care for the elderly.
Lack of Sanitation and Hygiene. Serious health issues can develop when staff members fail to maintain adequate facility sanitation or resident hygiene. Additionally, life-threatening germs and bacteria can spread throughout nursing homes when staff members ignore important hygienic precautions themselves, such as regular hand-washing.
Medication Errors. When nursing home staff administer medication in a manner that contradicts doctor’s orders, the manufacturer’s suggested dosage, or accepted professional medical standards, they put elderly residents at risk of serious complications or death. Many times, older individuals have a tender state of health and cannot withstand the adverse side effects caused by medication errors. When medication is administered carelessly, patients can suffer unnecessarily.
If you have witnessed any of the above practices in your aging family member’s care facility, don’t hesitate to call a nursing home abuse lawyer at Stewart Bell, PLLC. Dealing with the mistreatment of an elderly loved one can be heartbreaking and extremely stressful. Our knowledgeable team can review the facts of your case and help you take legal action, if necessary. We strive to do this all while providing clarity on the complex process and answering any questions you have along the way.