How Much Do You Know About Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
There are a lot of things about nursing home abuse that people are generally aware of, like the right of patients to be safe, to be taken care of, and to generally have the freedom to live their lives. But there are also many things, particularly statistics, that may in fact surprise you about nursing homes, and nursing home abuse and neglect.
Not Enough Help
You may have already had the notion that nursing homes are generally understaffed. That’s actually quite accurate; By some estimates, about 90% of nursing homes are understaffed to some extent. And unlike a business that just operates a little slower without a full staff, when a nursing home doesn’t have a full staff, patients can be neglected or ignored.
The staff there needs to pay attention to the patients or residents in the nursing home. You likely knew that, but did you know that it’s actually legally mandated? The law requires that every resident of a nursing home get a certain amount of individual contact with nursing home staff (just under 4 hours a day), as well as from medical professionals.
The Staff Knows
Nursing home abuse exists, and it happens, and you probably know that. You’re not alone. The staff of the nursing home knows that as well. In one study, just over half of the nursing home staff that was questioned, admitted to, at any time, having abused or just neglected patients or residents.
The abuse or neglect for the purpose of the study included not washing patients, not moving them, not caring for their hygiene, missing feeding times, and other kinds of neglect.
The Bill of Rights
Florida has a nursing home bill of rights that nursing home staff should follow and respect. That bill of rights doesn’t only include the right to be free from abuse and neglect, but the right to make decisions about healthcare, to socialize, and to be independent and free to the extent medically possible.
Residents have the right to private communications, access to telephones, to manage their own affairs, and to share a room with a spouse that is also a resident.
With all of these obligations to care for patients, where does Florida rank?
Dead last. That’s right. In one study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which looked at care, support, and outcomes of nursing home residents, Florida was 51st (Washington D.C. was included in the study). The states that did the best were Washington State and Minnesota.
However, a separate study by the Families for Better Care gave Florida a “B” grade, while medicareguide.org has Florida in the middle, at 23rd. Of course, these studies use different criteria yielding different results, but given Florida’s large aging population, to be anything less than the top 5 or 10, is doing a disservice to our elderly population.
Have you or a loved one been abused or neglected in a nursing home? Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today.