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When you make the difficult decision to put your elderly loved one into a care facility, they may not receive the high standard of care they are legally entitled to. The result of this is often complaints about their treatment and conditions in the nursing home.
Approximately 95% of nursing homes in the United States are certified to accept Medicare and Medicaid. When these care facilities fail to provide adequate care to their residents, they may be violating the federal Nursing Home Reform Law. One of the rights seniors have while in a care facility is the right to individualized care. Too often, this right is violated.
The following complaints are some of the most common, but they are far from being the only complaints that are made against these facilities. If your senior family member is complaining about how they have been treated, it’s time to begin looking for signs of abuse or mistreatment.
The 3 Most Common Complaints Against Nursing Homes
The following three complaints are valid, but in nursing homes that are poorly run or understaffed, they are also avoidable in many instances.
Not having enough staff available to meet their needs is one of the biggest complaints made by the residents of nursing homes. In addition, poor training can cause staff members to neglect their duties toward their residents. One example of this is seniors who use in-house calling systems to report their needs to staff members, only to have their calls go unheeded.
Many nursing home residents complain about loneliness due to a lack of social interaction. This is partly due to a lack of visitors, but it is also related to a lack of interaction with staff members or other residents. Loneliness can be caused by understaffing, poor training, and a lack of programs that are designed to meet the socialization needs of the residents.
Lack of Sleep
Elderly people have different sleep needs. Older people can fall asleep earlier, wake up earlier, and have more trouble staying asleep. Complaints about being woken up to take vital signs may be unavoidable. However, complaints about other residents and nursing home staff talking loudly at night and causing sleep deprivation are a preventable result of poor training.
About Nursing Home Abuse
Another frequent complaint about nursing homes is elder abuse. According to Mynursinghomelawyer.com, the firm has seen many cases of nursing home abuse. These include:
- A 79-year-old woman with Parkinson’s disease who developed a serious stage IV sacral bedsore that took years to heal.
- A wheelchair-bound 82-year-old resident who fell at the nursing home, resulting in a brain bleed, surgery, a stroke, and, ultimately, death
- An 81-year-old woman with vascular dementia who fell in her room, resulting in a fractured hip and elbow, surgery, the development of several bedsores, and death.
Nursing home neglect and abuse happen all too often. According to the National Council on Aging, approximately one out of every ten Americans aged 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse, but only one in 14 cases are reported to authorities.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
It’s important to know what the signs of elder abuse are before you place your loved one into a nursing home. Bruises, lacerations, broken bones, and bite marks are all visible signs of abuse. However, not all of the signs will be this plainly visible.
You may have noticed that your loved one just doesn’t seem like themselves. They may be withdrawn, they may startle easily, and they may refuse to answer your questions about their personality change.
If you suspect abuse, it is critical that you file a formal report with the facility. If nothing changes, you may need to report them to state authorities. In the worst-case scenario, you will be forced to consult an attorney. The only way to lower the incidences of elder abuse and change things for the better is to hold those who commit and facilitate abuse accountable.