If the government cuts Medicaid spending, nursing home negligence will likely injure more people. According to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, three in five Florida nursing home residents depend on Medicaid, and less money will strain an already overworked system.
Most cases of nursing home negligence happen because many long-term care facilities don’t have enough staff. Workers often receive poor training and not enough supervision. Experts say that nursing homes neglect or abuse about one-third of their residents.
Types of Nursing Home Negligence
The most widespread danger for nursing home residents is neglect, which happens in many ways.
- Medical: Caregivers fail to prevent and treat bed sores. People get hurt by falling down or out of bed because someone didn’t adjust the bed rails. Staff may not give needed medicine to residents, or may give the wrong medicine. Common medical neglect issues involve poor care for diabetes and dementia.
- General Cleanliness and Personal Hygiene: Because of advanced age or disability, many residents of long-term facilities can’t keep themselves properly bathed, cleaned or groomed. Staff needs to ensure that residents are bathing, brushing their teeth, wearing clean clothes and sleeping on clean sheets.
- Emotional and Social: Ignoring residents and preventing them from socializing with others can make them feel alone and isolated.
- Essential Human Needs: Residents must get enough to eat and drink.
Forms of abuse that lead to nursing home injury:
- Physical abuse: Staff or even other patients sometimes punch, kick or otherwise physically attack residents.
- Psychological/Emotional Abuse: Overworked and under trained staff can yell at residents, or otherwise verbally abuse and generally disrespect them through threats and insults.
- Sexual Abuse: An alarming number of sexual abuse cases have come to light in recent years, done by staff or other residents.
- Financial: Staff can take advantage of nursing home residents financially. This can include stealing cash or credit cards from purses or wallets, or making residents change their wills.
Look for signs of abuse and report it.
Caregivers and concerned loved ones should watch for signs of nursing home negligence. Take care to notice bed sores, dirty linens, or unwashed clothing, along with general signs of poor hygiene. Look for signs of weight loss or dehydration. Pay attention to mood swings, signs of anxiety or depression and general alertness.
Concerns should be reported to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.
You may want to seek the advice of a qualified attorney if someone you know has died or been injured through nursing home abuse or neglect.