The decision to move an elder family member or life partner into a nursing home or assisted living facility can be one of the most difficult choices a family is forced to make. The prospect that your loved one may be giving up cherished independence, their long-time home, and daily interactions with friends and neighbors are complex considerations to evaluate when making this decision.
As our elders approach the sunset years of their lives, they deserve the finest medical and quality of life care available. Each year, there are more than 1.5 million Americans living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities with the hope and expectation that their days will be filled with dignified and professional care and treatment which preserves their health and happiness.
As the care provider to your loved one, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are bound with the duty and responsibility to protect and safeguard the health and well-being of your family member. Yet, too often, corners are cut, mistakes are made, and abusive staff at nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the country are allowed to harm elders without serious repercussions.
In 2009, a U.S. Congressional Report found that 5,283 nursing homes, nearly one-third of all nursing home nationwide, were cited for abuse violations against their residents. Over 2,500 of the violations were serious enough to cause harm to or place residents in immediate jeopardy of death or injury.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 40 percent of the more than 123,600 nursing home resident emergency room visits in 2004 were preventable. Injuries from falls were the most common preventable injuries of residents treated at emergency rooms.
There are at least five forms of elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including:
Types of injuries or symptoms to look for in your loved one if you suspect abuse or neglect at a nursing home or assisted living facility include:
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