What To Look For To Stop Nursing Home Abuse
Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse

Hindsight is always 20/20.  All too often after the damage has been done, we realize that we could have and should have seen the signs of nursing home abuse before it got this far.  By knowing what to look for, you can protect your loved ones and prevent any harm from being done to them.  This information is designed to help people avoid being a victim of nursing home abuse.

What To Look For in a Nursing Home
Chapter #6: Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse

Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse

Because of the age and relative frailness of  nursing home residents, nursing home abuse may sometimes look like common ailments.  Be aware and look for any recurrent physical symptoms, mood changes, or psychological distress (particularly around certain individuals).

If you observe any of the following, your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Malnutrition and/or weight loss
  • Dehydration and/or kidney stones
  • Ligature marks on the wrists or ankles caused by physical restraints
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or bleeding
  • Sudden emotional changes
  • Soiled clothing or bed linens
  • Torn or bloody clothing
  • Bed sores (sometimes called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers)
  • Bed injuries/asphyxiation
  • Restraint, injuries or strangulation
  • Emotionally upset, agitation or withdrawal including anxiety, depression, or confusion
  • Withdrawal from family members or friends
  • Falls, fractures or head injuries
  • Infections or unexplained illness
  • Instances of wandering/elopement
  • Lack of basic amenities like soap, shampoo, toothpaste
  • Cluttered and/or unsanitary living environment
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unpaid bills, new credit cards, and/or cash withdrawals
  • New pain complaints

Most nursing homes provide adequate care and a safe environment for their residents.  However, some senior citizens suffer physical, emotional, financial and even sexual abuse within nursing homes.  These problems are often made worse by the fact that some nursing home residents are not able to communicate well.

If you suspect your loved one is in an abusive situation, the best way to determine their level of care is to stop by for regular unannounced visits at their facility.

Sometimes the signs of danger are subtle, sometimes they are obvious. 
By being vigilant, you can protect those you love.  If you see something, say something. You can always call MattLaw for help.

If you notice any of the warning signs listed above, document it and contact MattLaw® immediately at (813) 222-2222.   

We are committed to helping you and your loved ones understand your legal rights regarding nursing home abuse.

Signs of Problems to Come
Chapter #7: Nursing Home Abuse Injures and the Cause

Nursing Home Abuse Injuries and the Cause:

Nursing home abuse and injuries generally come from nursing home system failures, such as: 

  • Understaffing of nurses 
  • Lack of qualified staff 
  • Lack of training 
  • Poor supervision of the staff
  • Inadequate background checks when hiring new employees.

When nursing home owners or its management cut corners and fail to spend enough money to run a facility with the right staff, abuse and neglect are often the result.

What is an example of a nursing home abuse system failure?

Corporate nursing homes adopt understaffing as a business model to increase profits. 

This decision to be understaffed is made at a corporate level.

Understaffing or inadequate staffing is one of the largest causes of nursing home neglect and abuse.  

When management does not hire enough staff to handle the number of residents, the lack of care is predictable.  

The right way to run a nursing home is to have sufficient nursing staff with the appropriate skill  sets “to assure resident safety and attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident, as determined by resident assessments.”

When a facility is understaffed, the staff who are working may have the best of intentions, but they often become burned out from the working conditions.  

The staff becomes callous and unresponsive to residents’ needs.  

The staff can’t possibly get all the tasks done to provide adequate care.  

As a result of understaffing, the residents suffer.  

Sooner than later, the suffering becomes abuse and neglect that causes serious injuries and hastens the death of residents.

It is sad and preventable when nursing home staff is overworked. When these individuals experience burnout, frustration and feel overwhelmed, they begin to not care. 

Nursing home employee morale leads to the neglect of residents.

Knowing what to look for in a nursing home will save headaches and lives.

Take the time to investigate any adult living facility or nursing home before your loved one becomes a resident.
Make sure you select the right facility to protect your family.

When a nursing home does not care enough to hire the right people to work for them, accidents, neglect and abuse can happen.

Errors Are Made; Injuries Begin
Chapter #8: Risks of Understaffing Include:

Everyone has experienced being overworked at times, but some nursing homes intentionally understaff their facilities to save money and increase profits.

When this happens, the medical staff working in the facility get burned out.  

It’s not the workers fault when they are overwhelmed, which leads to mistakes, cutting corners, neglect, and frustrations.

Lack of qualified staff results in serious mistakes and even death of residents.

If your family member is a victim of abuse caused by understaffing at a nursing home facility, please call us at MattLaw® for a free consultation.

Risks of understaffing include: 

  • Medication errors or theft
  • Improperly following doctor’s orders regarding feeding, leading to choking and aspiration of residents
  • Delay or failing to timely recognize infections or other medical conditions such as fractures, bed sores, or fever
  • Exposing residents to food or medications that cause an allergic reaction that goes unrecognized

Mistakes are caused by Understaffing.

Everyone has experienced being overworked at times, but some nursing homes intentionally understaff their facilities to save money and increase profits.

When this happens, the medical staff working in the facility get burned out.  

It’s not the workers fault when they are overwhelmed, which leads to mistakes, cutting corners, neglect, and frustrations.

Lack of qualified staff results in serious mistakes and even death of residents.

If your family member is a victim of abuse caused by understaffing at the facility, please call us at MattLaw® for a free consultation.

Incompetence is No Excuse for a Nursing Home
Chapter #9: Risks of Failing To Train Nursing Home Staff

  • Risks of Failure to train:
  • When nursing home management hires new employees, oftentimes they  hope somehow these new unqualified workers already know, or will learn how to provide resident care without formal training.  
  • When there are training protocols but they are not followed, the result is predictable:  mistakes happen and residents suffer.

Untrained staff leads to injuries and deaths in nursing homes.

Inexperienced and untrained staff just do not know or have the skills to provide adequate care to residents of nursing homes.

The residents are at the mercy of the staff, so when the staff is lost, confused, unknowing, important things are left undone or overlooked.

The results of incompetent health care workers are predictable and preventable.

If you suspect a nursing home has caused serious injuries to anyone due to untrained staff, take steps to notify the nursing home and call us at MattLaw®.

Understaffing is Not an Excuse for Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Chapter #10: Not Enough Qualified Nurses and Staff

Not enough qualified nurses and staff:

Due to  the understaffing condition, there are not enough qualified workers to train and/or even supervise new hires.  As a result, policies and procedures designed to protect residents’ health and safety are ignored, overlooked, or even unknown to the people who have the most contact with the residents.

There is No Excuse for Abuse!

Understaffing is the root cause of nursing home neglect. When neglect begins, the nursing homes frequently start with the excuses of “we can’t hire good help”,  “we can’t train anyone”, or “we can’t afford to pay competitive wages”.

None of these excuses are legitimate reasons for neglect and abuse in any nursing home.

If your loved one has suffered neglect or abuse, call us at MattLaw® (813)222-2222.

If Employees Are Not Supervised They Don’t Take the Time To Give Quality Care To Nursing Home Residents
Chapter #11: Unsupervised or Poor Supervision of Staff by Nursing Homes:

Unsupervised or poor supervision of staff by nursing homes:

Oftentimes, nursing homes have beautiful policies, procedures, corporate motos, and mission statements.  Unfortunately, those words are just that, simply hollow words.  The hypocrisy is to promise to deliver high quality living, only to fail to act or follow their own policies and procedures, betraying  the resident.

It is not that employees are bad or  evil.  The problems start when there is no accountability, no supervision, and no mechanisms in place to make sure that high quality care is being provided to the residents.

Sinister acts happen behind the scenes when no one is watching.

Understaffing is the root cause of nursing home neglect.  The neglect becomes abuse when the staff is frustrated, unsupervised and can get away with murder. 

Failing to have policies and procedures for supervision is a big problem.  Second only to having such policies and not following them.

Lack of proper supervision results in neglect and abuse.  If you suspect your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect in any nursing home, please call MattLaw® today at (813)222-2222.

Hiring Fast to Fill a Need is a Recipe for Disaster Waiting to Happen
Chapter #12: Failing to Perform Adequate Background Investigations of Employees

Failing to perform adequate background investigations of employees:

Why are background investigations so important in the healthcare industry?

1. The applicants may not be qualified to do the jobs they are applying for.

2. The victims of abuse in a nursing home can’t protect themselves from intentional acts.  There are bad people who should never be around the vulnerable, such as sexual predators or convicted violent criminals.

Applicants often lie about their background and/or skills. If a nursing home fails to keep out dangerous and unqualified employees, bad things will happen to the residents.

 

 

 

Performing adequate background checks to find out if an employee is a convicted felon, sexual predator, or even to confirm their prior employment is easy and the safe thing for any nursing home to do.

Simple new employee screening is easy to do and protects everyone in any health care situation.

Residents in a nursing home are at risk of being exploited in many ways, and sadly, if an employer does not screen new hires, the residents can be the victims.

If your loved one has been exploited by a nursing home employee, please call us at MattLaw® (813) 222 – 2222.

There Are Laws and Rules, but Enforcement is Rare.
Chapter #13: Does the Government Enforce Laws or Rules to Stop Understaffing?

Despite the laws and regulations enacted by Florida, Georgia and the Federal government, there simply are not enough resources to inspect, detect and enforce the laws.

Sadly, some nursing homes know this and cut corners and avoid the law.

By knowing the laws and rules, you can help all the residents by reporting violations to the proper enforcing agency.

Doesn’t the Government enforce some sort of rules and regulations to prevent the understaffing and mismanagement of nursing homes?

Yes! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does publish guidelines for the operation of nursing homes.  Nursing homes are required to report staffing information, however, detection and enforcement of the guidelines is difficult.

There is Minimum Staffing, Expected Staffing, Reported Staffing.  There is a patient report called a “Minimum Data Set” (MDS), which is a 40 page assessment that is to be done for each resident of a nursing home.  This assessment provides a written record of how much assistance each individual needs with each of the following:

  • Eating
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Medical diagnosis
  • Rehabilitation

This form, in section “Z”, provides a score that the nursing home facility submits to Medicare or Medicaid to set the daily cost of reimbursement of each resident.  

Basically, this MDS and Z score is how the nursing homes are paid to care for residents.  Therefore, it is in the nursing home’s best financial interests to increase the daily reimbursement. It is in the patient’s best interests to do this as well.  However, when the facility cuts costs by understaffing, this can become Medicare or Medicaid fraud.

MattLaw® sues Nursing Homes that don’t follow the Laws, Rules and Guidelines.

Because we bring cases against negligent nursing homes for their transgressions, these bad nursing homes eventually pay the price for their violations.

When the government can’t oversee and protect nursing home residents, MattLaw® can. 
If your family member has suffered as a result of nursing home abuse, call my office and we will give you a free consultation.

Health Care Services Require Good Systems to Provide Safe Quality Care
Chapter #14: Nursing Homes Are Businesses

Nursing homes are businesses

Operating a nursing home requires a great deal of responsibility.  Ensuring that  elderly customers are given the services and care they rightfully  expect also requires the facility to follow basic systems of adequate staffing and training to ensure each resident is properly cared for.  When the facility’s management makes financial decisions and cuts the resources necessary to adequately staff the facility, it is the residents who suffer at the expense of the nursing home’s profits.  

At MattLaw®, we thoroughly explore the financial motivations and ability of nursing homes to be able to maintain quality care through quality staff.  If they can’t, they should not be in the nursing home business.

The root cause of nursing home abuse and neglect is almost always system failures.

What are nursing home system failures?  

They are problems created at the highest level of ownership and management of nursing homes.  

They are system failures because the management makes decisions regarding how much should be spent to maintain quality care.  

There is conflict between quality care and business profits.  Sadly, quality care is often cut short by budgeting decisions, causing understaffing at the facility.

Quality healthcare is not cheap.  

High quality nursing homes have adequate staffing by qualified and supervised healthcare workers.  

Happy workers are those who are given appropriate time to provide adequate care to each resident.  Sadly, the institutions that have the worst care have system failures from the top down.  

When a facility is understaffed and/or staffed by unqualified workers, mistakes, and abuses will soon follow.  Residents suffer as a result of the system failures allowed by top management.

Victims of nursing home understaffing, neglect and abuse too often suffer from the following:

  • Falls with fall-related injuries (including fractures and subdural hematomas)
  • Pressure ulcers or bed sores
  • Infections
  • Sepsis
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Aspiration from food, causing pneumonia
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Medication errors
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sexual assault
  • Financial exploitation and fraud
  • Failure or significant delay in transferring the resident to a hospital
  • Death

This list of injuries are, for the most part, caused by decisions made by management, as high up as the board of directors.

The headquarters of large nursing home chains have control

The largest nursing home chains have the power and resources to do things correctly.  When they choose not to do the right thing, and residents are injured, neglected or abused, we will hold them accountable.

If you have questions or concerns, please call MattLaw® today for a free confidential phone call at (813) 222 – 2222.

How Nursing Homes Attempt to Avoid Responsibility for Their Abuse
Chapter #15: Nursing Home Abuser Excuses

Nursing Home Abusers Excuses

When a claim is made against them for their abuse and neglect, their excuses may include one or more of the following: 

  • We did not know about (the problem).
  • It was just one bad employee, who could have known?
  • The patient was old and going to die anyhow.
  • The residents’ pre-existing conditions caused the problem, not our care or lack thereof.
  • The act of the employee was intentional and we can’t anticipate intentional criminal behavior.
  • The resident is partially at fault for their injuries.
  • It is the family’s fault because they put their relative in our facility.
  • We are just a nursing home and not medical doctors, so it is the doctor’s fault the resident has these conditions, not ours.  
  • The condition you claim, for example bed sores, did not happen at our facility, the resident left here in good shape, and the injury happened after they left our care.

 

 

 

 

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse – What to look for – What you need to Know

Our elderly population is vulnerable, and they and their families rely upon nursing homes to provide the level of care and compassion they advertise in their brochures and on their websites.  

When the quality of nursing home staff suffers, the victims who pay the price are the nursing home residents and their families.  

By understanding your rights, you now know what you can do to stop nursing home abuse, prevent nursing home abuse, and the steps to take to protect other residents, while obtaining fair compensation for the abuse victim.

Take the following steps when you suspect or discover nursing home abuse:

  1. Document the problem.
  2. Seek medical attention outside the facility.
  3. Call 911 for intentional conduct.
  4. Report abuse to the Florida or Georgia Adult protective Services.
  5. Notify the director of the nursing home facility.
  6. Call MattLaw® for a free nursing home abuse consultation at (813) 222 – 2222.

The Real Deal About Nursing Home Abuse - What You Can Do

There are many warning signs, and they seem apparent after abuse and neglect has happened.

Nursing home are a business, and as such they deserve to make a profit.  However, cutting corners, understaffing, not performing adequate training are management decisions that predictably lead to neglect and abuse.  Management knows this, but they can’t help themselves.

When there is a problem, the excuses flow like water, as to why it is not the nursing home’s fault, but anyone else outside of them.

There is very little government oversight.  So what is a person to do?

Check out the statistics about any nursing home before you or a loved one becomes a resident.  Check out the facility, and if there is a problem, follow the steps outlined by MattLaw®.

If you have a question, call MattLaw® at (813) 222 – 2222 and let us see what can be done to stand up for you and your family.

 

 

Keep reading to find out what damages you may be entitled to.