Elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes is an epidemic in America. Tens of thousands of complaints are filed in the U.S. each year, but a mere ten percent are thoroughly investigated. In 2016 alone, 23,760 incidents of elder abuse went uninvestigated according to the Department of Health. Many of these claims were closed without an onsite visit or an interview with the victim, their family or the nursing home staff.
The indignities suffered by these senior men and women—whether intentional or due to negligence—are often ignored by caregivers, state investigators and even the loved ones aren’t notified when an injury occurs.
Nursing Home Negligence Often Leads to Premature Death
Complaints of elder abuse or neglect often involve an older adult who fell in their nursing home room or somewhere in the facility and was then left to suffer. Falls significantly increase the older adult’s risk of premature death, which is the fate of several nursing home residents of a Minnesota nursing home.
Mary Cleary was in her late 90s when she was admitted to a nursing home in the Twin Cities. She suffered a fall when one of her caretakers used an “EZ stand” device to move Cleary from her wheelchair to her bed. She immediately knew she’d broken a bone in one of her legs, but the staff member ignored her cries for medical attention and instead gave her Tylenol. After 19 hours, Cleary was finally sent to a hospital where they realized both of her femurs were broken.
Her family recorded her story and filed an official claim with the Minnesota Department of Health. No one asked Cleary what happened to her that night, and the case was closed without an onsite investigation or interview with the family.
Mary Cleary died less than three weeks later.
Ineko Counters has a similar story: She was admitted to the same nursing home as Cleary to help her recover following hip surgery. Her husband, Craig, left for about an hour and asked a staff member at the nurse’s station to check on her to ensure she didn’t fall. Craig soon received a phone call that she had indeed fallen in her room and been found on the floor.
No physician was called, and it took 24 hours for an X-ray to be taken, which showed the hip she’d had surgery on was re-fractured. Again, the state didn’t investigate—even though the nursing home had received two citations for neglect two years prior.
Ineko Counters died one month later.
These are just a few instances of wrongful death due to negligence, but abuse is also prevalent in nursing homes across the United States. Elder abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological or financial. It’s important to know the signs of nursing home abuse to watch for when you visit your loved one such as sudden weight loss or gain, unexplained injuries and a sudden change in behavior—especially when caregivers are in the room.
Call Our Elder Abuse Lawyer in Prescott
The number of elder abuse cases in Arizona increases as the Baby Boomer generation gets older, and our lawyer actively fights on behalf of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected by their caretaker or nursing home facility, contact the Jensen Phelan Law Firm, P.C. in Northern Arizona immediately at 928-778-2660 for a free consultation. Our lawyer serves clients in Prescott, Cottonwood and Prescott Valley.