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Fast facts about nursing home malpractice and abuse

Caring for aging or infirm loved ones can be a challenge, especially for families in which the adults work outside the home. Finding an acceptable solution to the problem of elder care can also be challenging, and for many Ohio residents, nursing homes are the most logical option.

Most nursing homes provide quality care, empowering families to rest easy knowing their elder loved ones are safe from harm. However, a few nursing homes across the nation fail to meet even the minimum standards of care for the aged. This puts the most vulnerable members of society at serious risk for nursing home malpractice or outright abuse. Consider the following facts.

-- For each case of reported elder neglect, exploitation or abuse, five more cases go unreported.

-- About 86,000 preventable yet life threatening or fatal drug events occur in long-term care homes each year.

-- Between 1 and 2 million elder Americans have suffered injury, exploitation or mistreatment by a person tasked with caring for them or protecting them.

-- For-profit nursing homes experience a greater rate of resident abuse or neglect than non-profit nursing homes do.

To be clear: Elder neglect, abuse and exploitation occurring inside these facilities are forms of nursing home malpractice. These practices are not just illegal; they are dangerous and could result in the wrongful death of your beloved elder.

What can you do? First, do your due diligence and thoroughly vet the nursing home options in your area. Second, watch carefully for signs of abuse, neglect or malpractice such as unexplained bruises, weight loss, poor hygiene and many others. Third, do not hesitate to alert the authorities even if you merely suspect nursing home malpractice. You should also consider speaking with a lawyer about your legal options.

Source: Center for Justice and Democracy, "Fact Sheet: Elder Abuse and Nursing Homes," accessed Feb. 24, 2017

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