Federal Report Shows 1/3 of Nursing Homes Across the Nation Have Been Cited for Abusing Residents
In 2009 the federal government found that nearly 1/3 of all nursing homes in the United States had received citations for abusing and neglecting their residents.
It found that a total of 9,000 incidents of nursing home abuse were reported. More than 5,200 nursing homes receiving citations for abusing or neglecting their residents during that time. The government admits that its findings severely underestimate the incidence of abuse in nursing homes.
More shockingly, the report states that 1 in 10 incidents of reported abuse at nursing homes included situations where the residents were in grave mortal danger and were either seriously injured or killed.
Listing cases of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse where residents were denied their humanity and forced to accept the will of another, the Congressional report found that many of the reported cases would have continued to be ignored by the nursing home
staff if a formal complaint had not been filed.
With more than 1 million people living in nursing homes today, and because many residents have a limited ability to communicate with their loved ones, it is important that families understand the scope and signs of elder abuse.
Nursing home abuse is defined as any knowing, intentional, or negligent act committed by a nursing home staff member that causes harm, or serious risk of harm, to a nursing home resident. Nursing home abuse can be mental, physical, or sexual in nature.
Some of the earliest warning signs of nursing home abuse are:
- Changes in personality or behavior
- Bruises, pressure marks and broken bones
- Bedsores, and other unattended medical needs
- Poor hygiene and unusual depression
- Unexplainable burns and abrasions
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities