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Neglect of the Elderly in Nursing Homes is on the Rise

When a beloved grandparent, parent, aunt, or uncle needs additional attention in the golden years of his or her life, you may decide to place him or her in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. You do so trusting that the facility will care for its residents and make sure that they are safe, happy, and well-cared for.

According to a recent report from the American Association for Justice, entitled "Standing Up for Seniors: How the Civil Justice System Protects Elderly Americans," instead of being well-cared for, seniors are too often ending up victims of nursing home neglect.

Stories of elder neglect are far too common in America's nursing homes. The "Standing Up for Seniors" report discusses several cases of neglect in nursing homes: a nursing home resident who loses a leg after it becomes infested with maggots, an Alzheimer's patient who gets trapped in a freezer and dies, and a Florida nursing home resident who suffers from multiple falls, multiple pressure sores, infections, dehydration and eventually death by starvation. The "Standing Up for Seniors" report also describes a 2004 investigation by the Detroit News that found that 14,000 nursing home residents died nationwide of malnutrition and dehydration over a four-year period!

Increasingly nursing homes are being taken over by for-profit corporate chains, so the pressure to cut costs and lower staffing levels has grown. Because of this, instances of elder neglect have grown. Regulatory systems have proved to be of little deterrence, but attorneys representing seniors have been effective.

These attorneys are not only getting compensation for the elderly victims and their families, but are getting the nursing homes to make crucial changes to protect all the residents.

In one case, elder abuse attorneys representing the family of Margaret Hutcheson, a 78-year old woman who was admitted to a nursing home for short-term rehabilitation, but died from malnourishment and dehydration, obtained an agreement from the nursing home corporation that it would change its patient monitoring and care procedures in each of its 65 homes.

How to Spot Elder Abuse or Neglect

The National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA) website lists several warning signs to look out for to detect signs of elder abuse or neglect. These include:

  • Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns.
  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change of alertness, and unusual depression.
  • Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss.
  • Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregivers and the elderly person.

The elderly will often suffer in silence because they may be afraid or ashamed to discuss the abuse or neglect. So be alert, and if you notice these or any other signs that cause you to worry, seek help immediately.

What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse or Neglect:

Call the police or 9-1-1 immediately if someone you know is in immediate, life-threatening danger. If the danger is not immediate, but you suspect that one of your loved ones is currently or has been the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. You may be able to not only help your loved one, but other vulnerable seniors who are also in the home. Contact an elder abuse lawyer at our offices for a free IMMEDIATE case evaluation. Call 800-849-4905. The call is free. The advice may be priceless.

Call the personal injury lawyers at Bisnar Chase, for a free professional evaluation of your rights by attorneys who have been representing victims of elder neglect and senior abuse since 1978. You will experience award winning representation and outstanding personal service by a compassionate and understanding law firm in a comfortable environment.

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