Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Prevention -- Family Members Should Make Regular Nursing Home Visits at Unpredictable Times

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As the United States' population grows older, more and more individuals become vulnerable and dependent upon others to meet their most basis needs forcing families to place their loved ones in nursing homes.  Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed and/or unable to provide their residents with all of the care that they may require.  According to the United States Centers for Disease Control ("CDC"), a 1996 study found that more than 500,000 people age 60 or older were victims of neglect or abuse during a one-year period.  

For instance, nursing home residents may develop infected stage 3 or infected stage 4 bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), dehydration or malnutrition resulting in painful and life-threatening injuries.   These conditions do not happen overnight; rather, they develop over time as the result of the nursing home's failure to provide basic care and attention on an hourly and daily basis.

In our experience, the nursing home staff is able to figure out when a resident does not receive visitors, and the consequences can be fatal.  Family members should make regular nursing home visits (at unpredictable times) in order to check on their loved one, inspect their skin for breakdown and speak with the nursing home staff regarding oral intake.  The failure to do so can have tragic results. 

For instance, we handled a case involving an elderly woman who required assistance with all activities of daily life and was placed into a nursing home.  Her children had busy and hectic lives, and very rarely visited the nursing home.  One day, she was found non-responsive and transported to the hospital where she was diagnosed with respiratory failure, severe electrolyte imbalances, metabolic acidosis, and multi-organ failure all secondary to massive dehydration and malnutrition.  Disturbingly, oral examination revealed that her mouth was filled with dried food and purulent secretions as food was being haphazardly stuffed into her mouth by the nursing home staff.  She died three days later due to dehydration and malnutrition.  Our medical experts concluded that this condition was the result of severe water and food deprivation occurring over an extended time period.  

The lesson to be learned is that family members must be the biggest advocates for their loved ones and make regular nursing home visits at unpredictable times.  As the saying goes, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."

Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, medication error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by David Feldstein published on August 21, 2009 1:29 PM.

Nursing Home Falls -- Resulting Traumatic Head and Brain Injuries Require Immediate Medical Attention was the previous entry in this blog.

Death Secondary to Nursing Home Bed Sores / Pressure Sores / Decubitus Ulcers -- Sample Complaint in Maryland Circuit Court Wrongful Death / Survivorship Lawsuit is the next entry in this blog.

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