When you or your loved one is admitted as a resident to a Nursing Home there is an expectation that treatment will be appropriate and dignified. The treatment of some of the most vulnerable members of our community is so important that the New Jersey legislature enacted the Nursing Home Reform Act providing that every nursing home resident has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, free from abusive and negligent behavior.
According to the Federal Government, more than 1.5 million people live in nursing homes every year across the country. When companies chose to own and operate a nursing home it comes with the responsibility to do it correctly.
This means adequate staffing, facilities, training and medical coverage. With the changing landscape of our population and longer life expectancy, nursing homes are no longer places where the infirm go to pass away. The owners now must operate facilities with a certain level of expertise, staffing, training and facilities that are focused on the needs of the population it serves.
Unfortunately, the care provided to residents at nursing homes by those employed at times result in causing physical, mental or psycho-social harm. Sometimes the harm is caused by intentional acts, and sometimes the harm is the result of negligence. Nursing home malpractice is a widespread, growing form of abuse both locally and nationwide. There is also reason to believe these instances of neglect and abuse are under-reported.
Whether it is being our own advocate or looking out for a loved one, it may not be as obvious as you think to pick up on the fact that a resident has been the victim of abuse or neglect.
Through our experience, we have learned that you should always be on the lookout for falls with injuries and unexplained injuries; sudden changes in patient behavior or prognosis; bedsores or pressure ulcers; rapid weight loss or malnutrition; unsanitary conditions; over medication; sudden or unexpected death; transfer to a hospital or wound care clinic for infection, unexplained wounds, or malnutrition; and inadequate staffing or poor quality of staff.
Often times residents suffer from reduced mobility which presents the increased risk for bed sores, lung problems and orthopedic injuries. The nursing homes that accept these patients are expected to have this knowledge and tailor their care plan accordingly to meet the needs of the elderly and bedridden.