Nursing Home Abuse on the Rise, but Reporting Still Falls Short
Modern medicine is allowing people to live longer and longer, and with that increased lifespan comes an increased need for nursing home and assisted living care. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that nursing home abuse is becoming a very serious problem, despite continued regulations to protect the elderly. This abuse is a problem that nursing homes and doctors are failing to report appropriately. Without proper reporting, families cannot do their due diligence to ensure their elderly loved ones are safe and well.
Under the current Medicare rules, suspected abuse or neglect of the elderly or disabled must be reported immediately when hospitals or doctors treat a patient who appears to have been abused. In addition, workers in nursing homes are required to report any incidents involving serious bodily injury to a resident within two hours of discovery. Other incidents must be reported within 24 hours of discovery.
In a recent audit of Medicare, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that over a two-year period from 2015 to 2016, 134 cases of abuse were documented in medical records from hospitals specifically, on top of the thousands of cases that were not seen in a hospital. Of those, over a quarter were not reported to law enforcement. Shockingly, 80% of these unreported cases involved sexual assault and rape. Even though Medicare and other laws require this reporting, it appears to not happen as often as it should.
What This Failure Means to Families
These rules are in place to provide vital protections to one of the most vulnerable populations. Sadly, when the rules are not followed properly, law enforcement professionals and nursing home abuse attorneys lose valuable time in gathering evidence to hold those responsible accountable for their abuse and neglect. For families, failure to report makes it difficult to find quality facilities and protect elderly loved ones.
As a team of nursing home abuse attorneys, Garcia & Artigliere believes this failure needs to be rectified, and quickly. If you suspect someone you love has been a victim of elder abuse, don’t wait for the nursing home or medical professionals to make the report. Contact Garcia, Artigliere & Medby at 1-800-281-8515 to schedule your consultation.