Nursing home abuse a widespread problem

It is estimated that more than three million seniors live in some type of nursing home in the United States. What many may not know is it is estimated that approximately 16 percent of those seniors will fall victim to nursing home abuse. Pennsylvania families may benefit from learning more about this serious issue before seeking such care for their loved ones.

One organization has stated that a senior who has suffered abuse while in a care facility has a significantly higher death rate over the 36 months following the abuse than a resident who has not been a victim. After a government investigation, it was reportedly discovered that almost 33 percent of these facilities had violations that could have led to injuries for residents. Overall, an estimated 10 percent of all nursing homes had violations that did lead to residents suffering injury or harm.

There are many forms of abuse that can occur in these facilities. Most people immediately think of physical abuse, which can include any type of physical contact that is meant to inflict pain or suffering on the victim as well as neglect of proper care. Other forms include sexual, financial and psychological abuse. Neglect is yet another type of harm and can stem from lack of employees in the facility.

When seniors were questioned about their own experiences while living in these types of institutions, more than 40 percent indicated that they suffered some type of harm. The General Accounting Office of the federal government has indicated that some 70 percent of state inspectors do not pick up on the abuse. While there are numerous facilities that provide excellent care for elderly patients, Pennsylvania families do have options if they suspect a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse. An attorney who specializes in elder law can provide the information they need in order for them to make an informed decision regarding the best solution for their loved ones.

Source: nursinghomeabuseguide.org, "Nursing home abuse guide", Accessed on Dec. 26, 2016

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