At some point in an elder’s life, a fall, stroke or other debilitating illness or condition makes it necessary for them to enter a nursing home. Unfortunately, nursing homes can be extremely dangerous places for the people they are charged with protecting!
Placements in a nursing home could be for a brief period of physical and occupational rehabilitation. But in many cases, long-term placement is required because an elder can no longer function without 24/7 skilled care.
There is no greater fear for an elderly person than being placed in a nursing home – even on a short-term basis. This fear is well founded in reality. The Federal Government admits that 45% of our 16,000 nursing homes are substandard. Another 25% of our nursing homes are labeled as “average.”
There’s not much room for error. These statistics mean that the uninitiated need an experienced navigator to cross enter this often-dangerous jungle… because the consequences of being in a bad nursing home can lead to death.
10 Top Sources and Causes of Nursing Home Crises
Nursing homes are supposed to keep elderly family members safe. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. These 10 line items create compounded problems that multiply until the only result is a death that didn’t have to happen the way it did.
Poor Staffing – Although there is a direct correlation between adequate staffing and quality of care, an overwhelming majority are regularly understaffed. This is especially true in the for-profit facilities that constitute 65% of U.S. nursing homes. In addition, because a majority of nurses’ aides and ancillary workers in facilities are underpaid and others work two shifts, this increases the risk to residents’ lives even more. Many for-profit nursing homes keep their facilities artificially understaffed.
Poor Infection Control – A dirty and germ infested environment is very dangerous to people whose health and immune systems are already severely compromised. Poor housekeeping, patient handling, food handling, and poor training are mostly responsible for this risk.
Decubitus Ulcers (aka Bedsores) – Bedridden nursing home residents may develop bedsores as a direct result of poor nursing care. Bedridden elders should be moved or repositioned every 2 hours to minimize rubbing, pressure, and friction. Lubricants and protective padding may also be helpful. Incontinent patients are particularly susceptible to bedsores because exposure to moisture from urine increases the risk of skin damage. Incredibly, more people in nursing homes die from complications resulting from bedsores than from any other illness. Click here to Learn More
Poor Nutrition – It’s a well-known fact that the lack of adequate nutrition can result in malnourishment. In turn, that can lead to a host of physical and mental problems –– including increasing the risk of developing bedsores. Since many residents have to be fed, lack of adequate staffing exacerbates this problem. In many cases feeding tubes are suggested for residents, to accommodate the staff.
Chemical Restraints and Management – Poor nursing homes use anti-psychotic drugs to manage or chemically restrain their hard-to-manage residents. Alzheimer’s and Dementia residents are especially at risk of being overmedicated with anti-psychotic drugs such as Haldol™, Risperdal™, Adavan™, and Seroquel™. The prolonged effects of these drugs are harmful and usually lead to death.
Nursing Home Evictions – There are many reasons why a nursing home might want to evict a resident. There are only five specific and clearly defined instances in which a resident of a nursing home may be evicted. It is clearly illegal to remove a resident for any other reason. Yet hundreds of residents are evicted every day from facilities. In some cases, a nursing home might not want to release a resident. This usually occurs when the resident is paying privately and the nursing home doesn’t want to lose the revenue.
Accidents – Falls are the most common form of accidents. Falls can be caused by faulty equipment, neglect, and outright abuse. Of course some accidents are just that. In many cases these accidents are not reported or investigated. Poor handling of frail elderly patients often leads to broken bones. Often residents who have accidents are sent to the hospital… and the problem is not reported to authorities.
Financial Abuse – Financial exploitation of the elderly occurs when an individual takes or uses the money or property of a senior for any wrongful use or with the intent to defraud the elder. Senior citizens who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities can be victims of financial abuse by their direct caregivers or by the administrators of the nursing homes.
Isolation – This occurs most often in conjunction with some other type of nursing home abuse such as physical abuse. Keeping elderly individuals isolated prevents them from seeking the assistance of friends or family members if they are suffering from mistreatment. Forced isolation has serious psychological consequences on elderly patients and frequently leads to depression. This type of nursing home abuse is the most difficult to recognize because it leaves no physical marks.
Physical Abuse – Physical assault in nursing homes is defined as “the intentional use of physical force that results in bodily injury or pain.” This includes hitting, kicking, shaking, shoving, pinching, beating or burning. The injuries that a nursing home resident may suffer as a result of physical assault is extremely serious and commonly results in broken bones, head injuries, and lacerations.
Take Action at the First Sign of Trouble
If and when you glimpse or even suspect the beginning of one or more of the problems or challenges above, act immediately to protect the elder family member who you love… and who you know deserves better than what they are receiving. To “act immediately” means to get professional support from a team that knows how to make nursing homes jump… jump fast and jump high.
Since 1973, My Elder Advocate has helped the elderly and their families avoid a vast majority of the risks associated with a nursing home placement. My Elder Advocate has a high success rate in avoiding neglect and abuse when we are called in to advocate for nursing home residents. Of course, our best work is done when called in before a placement. In this instance we can assure you that your loved one will be placed in a facility that is tailored specifically to their physical and emotional needs. We monitor care at regular intervals to ensure a positive and healthful experience.
My Elder Advocate only places clients in nursing home communities that we have thoroughly and personally researched and dealt with extensively. Although these quality facilities render the best care to all residents, My Elder Advocate clients are treated especially well.
In cases where My Elder Advocate is called in at a time of crisis, we are uniquely adept at investigating problems and offering long-lasting solutions. We put the facility on notice that we are advocating on behalf of our client… and that we fully expect that our client will “receive only the best care from this point forward.” If and when we feel that a client is in imminent danger, we arrange for a transfer to another facility.
The work that My Elder Advocate does is highly specialized. To negotiate successfully for quality care requires many years of industry experience. We bring that experience to the table today so that you are free to concentrate on is spending quality time with your elder family member. Contact us now by calling (212) 945-7550.