Nursing Home Abuse
Age and declining health increases the susceptibility of our senior citizens toward abuse and neglect. Much of the neglect that we see of the aged occurs to those residing at long term care facilities. Since many senior citizens have lost the capacity to live independently, they find themselves victims of the negligence of their custodians and caregivers. A shortage of qualified and trained personnel has contributed to a significant rise in nursing home negligence and abuse. In 1987 the United States Congress, recognizing a significant amount of nursing home abuse, passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Commonly known as OBRA, this act set new standards for nursing homes. In 2002, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found evidence that nine out of ten U.S. nursing homes are understaffed.
Common physical claims and personal injuries sustained to residents in nursing homes involve bed sores (pressure ulcers), malnutrition and dehydration, falls and physical abuse. Bed sores, one of the major forms of nursing home abuse, typically form on the low back and heel and range in severity from stage one to stage four. Stage four bed sores often involve deep wounds with a complete breakdown of the skin tissue. Malnutrition and dehydration often occur because residents of nursing homes are not properly monitored regarding their intake of meals and fluids. Typically the problem is that the facilities are understaffed. Although falls are not always preventable, it is imperative for nursing homes to assess the resident’s ability to walk independently and provide appropriate care in this area.
In an effort to obtain legal representation for aging residents of our nursing homes, New York State passed Public Health Law § 2801-d. This law provides that the nursing home staff must fulfill its duties to properly assess a resident and formulate a proper care plan. This law provides for attorney’s fee and punitive damages.
Studies have shown that nursing home abuse cases are unusually successful in the courts and generally yield significant financial settlements to the abused resident. Weiser & Associates presently represents victims of nursing home abuse who have sustained falls with multiple fractures, hospitalization for pressure ulcers requiring surgical intervention and physical abuse by staff personnel. If your family member has been subjected to any of the abuse outlined above, we would be happy to obtain the nursing home chart and evaluate the case with the hope of obtaining substantial monetary damages for the injuries sustained.