Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) January 8, 2014 - Nursing home abuse is a national issue. The stories are horrific.
“I often read about nursing home abuse cases in other jurisdictions, because they could just as easily happen in Arkansas,” indicates Michael Smith, an Arkansas nursing home abuse lawyer. The brutality perpetrated on seniors in America today is shocking. Just when they thought it was safe in a nursing home or assisted living facility, stories of elderly residents being sexually assaulted, burned, falling and/or breaking bones are rampant in the media. “The stories you read are just the tip of the iceberg,” Smith added.
Consider four recent cases out of Connecticut. One in which a resident fell and broke a hip, an instance of unreported sexual abuse, a resident who fell, was discovered non-responsive and later died in hospital and other scenarios ranging from untreated pressure ulcers to no proper support plan for a violent resident.
One elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s broke her hip as a result of a nursing aide not correctly placing a tray table on her wheelchair. In a second case, an elderly resident was found outside the care home in the early hours of the morning, at the bottom of a short flight of stairs. The door alarm had not sounded when opened by the resident who had also taken off an alarm bracelet.
In another instance, an older man was visiting a resident in a facility and was observed with his hands down her pants and under her blouse, touching her breasts. Three staff members witnessed these incidents, but no one reported them, saying they did not think it was sexual abuse because the abuser was an older gentleman.
In another nursing home, a caregiver left a heating paid behind the knee of a resident for several hours. It was to have only been left on for 30 minutes. The resident required skin graft surgery.
“As that case turned out, the home also did not follow up on monitoring the woman’s graft after surgery. Yes, nursing aides and caregivers are human. Yes, they make mistakes. Having said that though, seniors-in-care are some of our most vulnerable citizens. They ‘must’ be cared for with an eye to due diligence,” Smith says.
Leaving residents at high risk for falls alone, not providing proper after-surgery care, not following a set care plan, checking for bed sores, providing support and ensuring all medications are correctly administered, are all part and parcel of what may comprise nursing home abuse. While abuse may be physical, mental, emotional, sexual and psychological, it has the ability to take on many forms.
“Be alert and aware of what is going on in any facility where you may have a loved one in care. If, for any reason, you suspect something is wrong, contact my office. I can help you,” stated Smith.
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