The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a new study in June of 2019, revealing pretty shocking statistics for nursing home abuse and neglect. According to the study, abuse accounts for nearly one in five high-risk emergency room visits by residents of nursing homes.
It happens more often than you think, but not always for obvious reasons. Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Long Island see negligent injuries occur in the following situations:
- Staff not assisting patients with necessary tasks
- Staff leaving hazards in the common areas
- Staff not monitoring prescription drug side effects
- Intentional physical, emotional, or mental abuse
Unfortunately, the underlying causes of nursing home neglect and abuse are the inadequate staffing and training available. Therefore, already vulnerable residents find themselves in an even more vulnerable position. Legal options are available to family members who discover abuse is occurring where their loved one stays.
Why Neglect and Abuse in Nursing Homes Goes Unreported So Often
It is surprising to learn how often nursing home abuse and neglect incidents go unreported. A 2017 government audit revealed that 25% of these cases never reach the formal complaint process.
Medicare requires medical professionals and administrative staff members to report potential crimes against nursing home residents. They must report serious bodily injury against the resident within two hours of occurrence. Staff must notify Medicare of all other crimes within 24 hours. Reporting protections are in place under the Elder Justice Act.
However, it is these same reporting requirements that nursing homes are failing to meet.
Nursing homes are not reporting crimes due to fear of abuse and neglect accusations. This decision can lead to lying or falsifying reports in which negligence in care occurred. It gets even worse when intentional abuse occurs, as in the reporting of physical or verbal abuse by a staff member.
What to Do If You Suspect a Nursing Home Caused Your Loved One’s Injuries
You should never overlook or downplay injuries that occur while your loved one is in the care of his or her nursing home. While it is unnecessary to jump to conclusions, make sure the emergency room is carefully checking him or her for signs of negligent or suspicious treatment or care.
If the emergency medical staff suspect nursing home abuse is taking place, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. He or she can guide you through your legal options with foresight and experience to keep your family member as safe as possible. It is also an opportunity to ensure that these same injuries do not happen to another person.
Consider Working with the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, our team of nursing home abuse lawyers in Long Island, NY, is here to help you bring justice and peace of mind to your family. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today by calling (866) 878-6774 or by sending us a note through our contact request form.