Serious nursing home abuse often goes unreported

Nursing home neglect and abuse are widespread problems. Sadly, serious instances of abuse often go unreported. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an alert saying that more than 25% of severe cases of abuse in nursing homes are not reported to law enforcement. Both federal and state laws require that serious instances of nursing home abuse must be turned over to police.

The cases outlined in this report are ones that require emergency room treatment. Here is a look at some examples of serious injuries of nursing home residents. 

Sexual assault

One case cited by the alert is about a woman who suffered sexual abuse at the nursing home. The abuse resulted in horrible bruises. While the law requires such instances to be reported to law enforcement within two hours, the nursing home did nothing. Instead, they cleaned the victim to cover up the crime. 

Improper medication

Many nursing home residents require medication to treat and manage various conditions. But improper administration of these drugs can have drastic consequences. Some nursing home staff members are negligent and abusive when giving medications. Awful instances include drugging patients to keep them in a sedative state or providing medications that are not medically necessary. 

Falls

Sometimes, severe injuries are not a result of an abusive act. They can also occur due to the negligence of nursing home staff. Fall accidents are common among nursing home residents and elderly people in general. But some nursing homes fail to take measures to prevent falls or treat patients when they get hurt. On average, nursing homes report between 100-200 patient falls annually.

Some of these falls result in serious injuries. In fact, More than 20,000 nursing home residents suffered severe facial injuries due to falls in 2016. Nursing homes that do not implement fall prevention programs or otherwise cause fall accidents may be held liable for neglect.

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