As loved ones age, we have to make difficult decisions. If it is clear that he or she cannot care for him or herself anymore, it might be time to discuss placement in a nursing home. These facilities are equipped with professionals that can provide the necessary care for them. While there are many reputable nursing homes throughout Kentucky and the entire nation, there are still instances where abuse and neglect occur.
People in Lexington with an elderly loved one may understand just how vulnerable many of these people are when it comes to their health and well-being. It is important that these people receive quality care that allows them to live out the remainder of their life in comfort. Unfortunately, instances of elder abuse do occur, even in nursing homes. The following are some factors that may make a person more susceptible to nursing home abuse and neglect.
People in Kentucky might assume that the nursing homes they choose for their loved ones will be sanitary. After all, just like hospitals and other health care facilities have infection control policies, so too should nursing homes, right? Actually, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis, nursing homes across the nation are failing to take the necessary precautions to prevent infections -- including washing their hands, keeping ill patients quarantined and having workers stay at home while they are sick. This, in turn, could potentially make nursing home residents severely ill.
Kentucky residents with a loved one in a nursing home may be concerned to hear that a recent report from Congress revealed that nursing home abuse was reported in as many as 30 percent of nursing homes in the country. According to the report, of the over 5,200 nursing homes reported on, nearly 9,000 incidents of elder abuse took place over the course of 24 months. This included accidents that could have been prevented had the right measures been taken, residents suffering from malnutrition, bedsores that were not properly treated and residents suffering from a lack of medical care. According to the report, 1,601 of the incidents of abuse were so harmful that the victim was placed in immediate risk of becoming seriously injured, or even dying. Some of these incidents include nursing home workers kicking, choking and hitting residents. One report even revealed that in one incident, one resident of the facility was bribed to harm a second resident.
When a person in Lexington needs more care than their family can provide, sometimes a nursing home is the type of facility that is best equipped to meet their needs. People put a lot of trust in the nursing home staff, expecting that their loved one will be well taken care of. Unfortunately, incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect do occur.
Lexington residents may be aware that earlier this year the federal government announced its goal of abolishing prohibitions on pre-dispute arbitration clauses in contracts. In such a contract, residents of care facilities or their families agree to undergo arbitration before they can file a lawsuit, even if there is no dispute yet. These contracts can be applicable even if the victim has been subjected to nursing home abuse and neglect.
According to a CNN investigation, a drug meant to be given only to those with a rare health condition is being wrongfully used in nursing homes in a manner that is not only unnecessary, but is even dangerous. The drug, Nuedexta, is used to treat pseudobulbar affect, which causes a person to laugh or cry uncontrollably. Less than 1 percent of individuals in the United States have this disorder, and they are mainly those who suffer from other conditions, such as Lou Gehrig's disease or multiple sclerosis.
How many of us use Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat on a daily basis? Many people in Kentucky use these apps on their smartphones frequently, and sometimes do not give much thought to how their posts will affect others. However, this can be a dangerous situation.
Kentucky residents residing in nursing homes are among our vulnerable population. They are often unable to care for their daily needs, the may be mentally incapacitated and they may suffer from physical ailments. We count on nursing homes to provide quality care for their residents, but unfortunately instances of nursing home abuse and neglect occur all too frequently. In what is disturbing news, according to a government audit over 25 percent of possible incidents of physical and sexual abuse in nursing homes are not reported to police. This is despite a federal law that mandates police be immediately notified of such incidents.
It is an unfortunate fact that sometimes our most vulnerable individuals are taken advantage of, neglected or even abused by those who are tasked with caring for them. When we place a loved one in a nursing home, we hope that they will take good care of our loved one. However, nursing home abuse and neglect does occur. It is important, then, for people in Lexington to understand what risk factors contribute to elder abuse.