Nursing Home Abuse Is Largely Underreported
According to the Health and Human Services Inspector General’s Office, in 2019 alone, there were 6,600 cases of nursing home abuse that went unreported. To put that number in perspective, it represents approximately 18 percent of the 37,600 incidents of Medicare recipients who were taken to the hospital. Under federal law, nursing homes are required to report all cases of suspected abuse and neglect but clearly, the published report shows this often does not happen.
If you believe your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect, it is critical that you speak with a Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer. An attorney will review your case, discuss the legal options available to you, and help you file your claim.
Do Long-Term Care Facilities Intentionally Cover Up Abuse?
There are times when nursing home administrators do intentionally cover up neglect and abuse. Nursing home administrators can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their staff members. When they learn of abuse or neglect occurring within the facility, they may reprimand the staff member, or even terminate them. However, administrators sometimes still will not report the abuse because they want to avoid a lawsuit being filed against them, and the potential of paying damages for any injuries sustained.
Other times, nursing home abuse and neglect is unintentionally unreported. Nursing homes are notoriously understaffed. Staff members may not have the required amount of time to spend with a resident to identify the signs of neglect and abuse. Or, a staff member may simply be distracted by the number of duties they have to perform that they simply do not notice signs of abuse and neglect. In other instances, understaffing in nursing homes may mean that one staff member does not have the chance, or forgets, to tell other workers about the injury.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Due to the fact that nursing home administrators and staff members do not always report abuse and neglect in the manner they should, it is critical that family members know the signs to look for. Residents will not always come forward on their own and sometimes, they do not even realize abuse or neglect is occurring. Some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Becoming agitated or upset easily, sudden withdrawal from social situations
- Broken bones, head injuries, and falls
- Instances of elopement or wandering
- Bed sores
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain, particularly when it happens rapidly
- Becoming reluctant to talk in the presence of certain staff members
- Unexplained injuries
- Unclean or unsanitary living conditions
- Heavy sedation
- Marks around the ankles or wrists, which may indicate the resident has been physically restrained
Any time you notice any of the above signs of neglect and abuse, or any other, it is critical that you speak to a Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
Call Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Tampa Now
If your loved one has been hurt by neglect or abuse, you can file a claim to recover compensation for their injuries, but do not wait. Time may be running out on your claim. At Kohn Law, our Tampa nursing home abuse lawyers are dedicated to helping the elderly, and we will put our experience to work for you. Call us now at 813-428-8504 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.