When we place our loved ones in a nursing home, we trust the facility to treat their residents with the dignity and respect they deserve. Sadly, many nursing homes fail to live up to this trust.
The elderly are growing as a percentage of the population, and the nation's nursing homes are growing more crowded. With these changes comes the potential for nursing home neglect and abuse.
Last month, the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General published a study that found that as many as one in five emergency room visits by Medicare patients resulted from potential abuse or neglect at nursing homes. The study found further that nursing homes and supervisory agencies underreported these incidents.
The study looked at more than 34,000 Medicare claims for high-risk emergency room visits in the calendar year 2016. While researchers could not substantiate abuse or neglect in all these cases, they looked for signs of potential abuse and neglect that should have served as red flags for reporting agencies. Researchers thoroughly reviewed documentation for 256 of these visits and found a high number were not reported to law enforcement, as they should have been.
With oversight agencies and law enforcement apparently unable to keep up with the amount of abuse and neglect going on, it's important that the elderly and their families assert their rights. After a patient has suffered due to negligence or abuse at a nursing home, a personal injury attorney can help the injured and their families to understand their legal options.