As baby boomers move into their 60s and beyond, demand for nursing home services is likely to increase dramatically. In fact, the 2010 U.S. Census found that 13 percent of the population is 65 or above — the greatest proportion of older people in our nation’s history. As we look for competent and compassionate care for elders, we need to check for any reported complaints or violations and be vigilant in recognizing signs of neglect or abuse.
That abuse is increasing is not in question: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that 44 percent of 2,000 nursing home residents stated that they had been abused — and as many as 95 percent claimed that they had been neglected or witnessed the neglect of another resident. So, what is causing this increase in abuse and neglect? The reasons include:
- Inadequate screening of staff. Nursing homes should perform background checks on potential employees. When a facility fails to screen out people with a record of abuse or neglect, the facility exposes itself to a claim of negligent hiring.
- Understaffing and undertraining. When a nursing home is understaffed, carelessness is often the result. A nursing home should have enough well-trained nurses and aides to meet the needs of residents in a timely manner.
- Profit motive. As many as 70 percent of U.S. nursing homes are corporate-owned, for-profit businesses. Corporations are motivated to keep their costs as low as possible.
Making the decision to put an elderly loved one in a nursing home is a hard one. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, do not delay in seeking legal representation from a Stipe Law Firm attorney.