A Tennessee nursing home was ordered to pay $28 million in punitive damages following the death of a patient who was malnourished, dehydrated and developed pressure sores on her foot that went to the bone. The sores became infected with bed bugs and the insects’ fecal matter. The patient’s leg was amputated to prevent the spread of the infection, but she still died two months later.
After the incident, the facility tried to hide how understaffed it was. Months after the patient’s death, the staff continued to document providing care to her.
Is Nursing Home Abuse Common?
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one in every 10 elderly U.S. citizens have experienced some form of elderly abuse, which can include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional or verbal abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Willful deprivation
Almost 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will spend time in a nursing home before death. A study from the NCOA found 44 percent of nursing home residents reported they have suffered from some form of abuse. Of those reports, 29 percent is reported physical abuse, 14 percent is neglect, 22 percent is from other residents, 21 percent is psychological abuse, 7 percent is financial abuse and 7 percent is reported sexual abuse.
How to Recognize Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
When not properly staffed, elderly nursing home residents are at risk for diseases, infections, injury and neglect. However, there are signs you can look for in order to recognize if your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, including:
- Sudden weight loss
- Injuries from slip and falls
- Bedsores from laying in the same position for extended periods of time
- Withdrawn behavior, or any other unusual personality changes
- Poor nursing home conditions, such as slippery floors, poor lighting, unsafe furniture in patient rooms or broken mobility equipment
- A growing distrust of nursing home staff
- Unexplained cuts and bruises
- Consistently sedated from improper medication use
Stanley A. Davis is a Nashville personal injury attorney who can explain you and your loved one’s rights in nursing home abuse cases. The Law Office of Stanley A. Davis will fight to help you hold those at fault accountable for any injuries or emotional damage sustained.
“You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:32