Do you expect a loved one is being abused?

Nursing Home Abuse:

Placing an elderly loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility can be a heart-wrenching decision..

Upwards of 10 million seniors experience nursing home abuse and neglect in “safe” places like nursing homes and by people they trust.


How Do I know if a loved one is being abused in a nursing home?

Approximately 1.6 million Americans live in nursing homes. Ironically, Alabama pays its nursing homes some of the highest Medicaid rates in the country, but yet we have some of the worst records in preventing accidents, food sanitation, and staffing levels. Alabama has 235 nursing homes, with a population of approximately 23,000 individuals. Currently, the state has 1200 complaints against nursing homes, which are backlogged because the state does not have the resources to investigate all of the complaints. Alabama spends considerably less on inspections than other southeastern states.


What Should I Look For?

Nursing home abuse and neglect appear as: physical abuse; physical neglect; and, breach of contract/fraud cases. Physical abuse generally involves situations where a nursing home resident is intentionally harmed by an employee or staff member of the nursing home or by another resident. Physical neglect of nursing home residents includes pressure sore formation, malnutrition, dehydration, contractures and infections. Without sufficient staffing, it is not uncommon for nursing home residents to wander away from the facility and suffer injuries or death. In such cases, a formal complaint should be filed with the nursing home as well as the Alabama Department of Public Health. Cases involving breach of contract or fraud generally involve the mismanaging of the assets of a resident. It can also involve a resident’s being billed for services that are not provided.


What to Look For in Choosing a Nursing Home?

Asking physicians, co-workers and friends for recommendations, taking the formal tour, but also make unannounced visits to all three shifts, if possible, trying the food, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, if possible, observation of staff members who provide daily care interacting with residents, speaking to nurse’s aids and nursing assistants about their work and how well they like the facility, looking at detail, including how long it takes for call lights to be answered, checking for spills or obstacles in the hallways, the smell of the facility, and grooming and hygiene of residents at the home. Prepare a list of medical questions to present to the facility and find out if the facility is able to take care of special needs.

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