I recently read that there are over three million elderly people residing in nursing homes in the United States. Alarmingly, twenty-five percent of them are neglected or abused. Medicare indicates that nursing home residents receive four hours of hands-on care per day. That means that they spend about twenty hours per day unattended.
We are currently working on a case where a resident of a nursing home needed help getting to the restroom. Staff at the nursing home did not respond to her repeated requests for assistance. After 20 minutes she attempted to make her way to the restroom–she understandably did not want to urinate in her bed. She fell on the way to the restroom. She broke both of her legs. One of them had to be amputated below the knee.
Her story is not unusual. Nursing home residents needlessly suffer catastrophic injuries such as head trauma with subdural hematoma, hip fractures and aspiration pneumonia. Understaffing and lack of proper training result falls, skin breakdown, infection, malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration and blood clots. Unfortunately many of the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect do not fully understand their rights. It’s our responsibility to advocate for them.