Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

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Throughout the nation, the population of those age 65 and older continues to rise.  In fact, as the baby boomer generation continues to age, it is projected that the number of older people in the U.S. population will be greater than children in just a couple of decades.  In Georgia, the population of those 65 and older is projected to constitute over 65% of the state’s population by 2030.

With the rise of the aging population, more and more of these individuals are now living in nursing homes.  However, statistics show that many of these residents suffer from poor and neglectful care, and other abuse.  Residents of for-profit nursing homes are more likely to be subjected to poorer care standards, compared to residents of non-profit facilities. A new report confirms that for-profit nursing home residents have increasing rates of suffering injuries resulting from neglect than those living in other residential arrangements.

The researchers found that seniors over the age of 60 who lived in private community residences were most likely to be well cared for. They found more signs of neglect among residents of for-profit nursing homes.  Some of these cases included serious signs of neglect such as extreme dehydration and stage 3 and stage 4 bedsores. These residents were also more likely to suffer from the effects of mismanagement of their feeding and medication schedules.  The neglect also involved malfunctioning or broken feeding tubes, broken catheters and overall mismanagement of chronic health conditions which are prevalent in the nursing home population.  Numerous lawsuits are filed nationwide against nursing homes and assisted-living facilities for failure to provide adequate care and safety measures.

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Georgia residents are overwhelmingly opposed to a bill that would restrict their access to medical malpractice damages. They’re also strongly in favor of holding nursing homes accountable for the neglect and abuse of residents.

Those are the results of a new survey conducted by the Public Policy Polling Institute, which found that residents across seven states are overwhelmingly in opposition to HR 1215. The recently introduced bill seeks to limit noneconomic damages available in cases involving medical malpractice and nursing home abuse. The bill would also cover any damages from lawsuits related to malfunctioning or defective medical devices, as well as pharmaceutical company drug-related lawsuits.

The Public Policy Polling survey specifically focused on residents living in seven states:  Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Utah and Arizona. These are states that are either red (Republican) or purple (have voted Republican or Democrat in the past few years). Typically, voters who live in red or purple states favor restrictions on medical malpractice damages.

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When a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you must step in and ensure that he or she is protected. It is also important to begin the process of filing a claim to recover compensation for the damages that your loved one has suffered.

Holding a nursing home liable for damages is tricky. You must provide evidence that abuse or neglect did occur, and that the facilities conduct resulted in physical or emotional injuries. Basically, when you file a legal claim against a nursing home, you must be able to prove certain key elements, including:

· The nursing home owed a duty of care to your loved one.

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Among the various types of abuse that occur in nursing homes, the most difficult to identify is sexual abuse. Although cases of rape and sexual abuse in nursing homes are rarer than cases of physical abuse, there is no denying the fact that sexual abuse leaves behind long-term psychological and emotional scars that can be even more difficult to heal from than physical injuries.

The elderly are easy victims of sexual abuse, because they often feel ashamed of the abuse and unable to confide in their family about what has transpired. Furthermore, they may feel intimidated or threatened by the perpetrator. All of these things make it difficult for family members to identify abuse.

To determine whether your loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse, look for signs of changed sexual behavior in your loved one. Don’t ignore any signs of sexual promiscuity, suggestive behaviors, or odd behavior.

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With the proportion of senior motorists across the country and on Atlanta roads expected to balloon over the next couple of decades, it’s not surprising that leading auto safety groups in the country are turning their attention to senior motorist safety. The AAA Foundation recently announced that it is investing in research that focuses on accident risks involving senior motorists.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is investing $12 million in the study into the driving behaviors of senior motorists. Researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health will specifically investigate factors that affect senior motorist safety while driving. Those factors include prescription drug use that could impair a motorist’s driving abilities and increase the risk of drowsy driving accidents, as well as the impact of deteriorating vision on senior drivers.

As part of the study, drivers between the ages of 65 and 79 will be recruited in several states around the country. Researchers will fit these motorists’ cars with GPS devices to monitor and observe driving patterns. The researchers will use the data that emerges from the study to analyze senior driving patterns and devise solutions to core safety problems.

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Alcohol tends to affect different people in different ways, and younger drivers are typically believed to be at the highest at risk for destructive alcohol- related behaviors, like drunk driving accidents.However, seniors could be just as much at risk of being involved in accidents after they have consumed alcohol.What is even more dangerous about seniors and drinking is that alcohol consumption does not have to be large for it to affect many seniors’ driving abilities.According to research, even small amounts of alcohol can affect an older driver’s driving abilities, increasing his or her risk of being involved in a car accident.

The study was conducted by researchers who analyzed how drinking alcohol affects driving abilities, based on age.Persons in the age group of 25 to 35 were compared with another group which consisted of persons 55 to 70 years old.In both groups, persons consumed alcohol, but not enough for any of them to cross the maximum permissible blood-alcohol level in most states of .08%.In other words, nobody in either of these groups met the criteria for being legally intoxicated.

However, researchers found to their surprise that even when seniors drank just a few alcoholic beverages, it impacted their ability to drive safely.They monitored the driving abilities of seniors by putting them through a driving simulator, and found that even mild amounts of alcohol intoxication in seniors did affect driving abilities.

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According to a new study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the number of traumatic spinal cord injuries recorded in the United States is on the increase. Another major change that the research showed is that the primary cause of serious spinal cord injuries in the United States is no longer automobile collisions, but slip and fall accidents.

The Johns Hopkins research analyzed a total of 43,137 adults who received treatment in hospital emergency rooms after suffering a spinal cord injury. These adults were treated for their injuries between 2007 and 2009. The researchers found in their analysis that the incidence of spinal cord injury in the 18-64 age group ranged from 52.3 injuries per million in 2007, to 49.9 million in 2009.

While that constituted a drop in the number of traumatic spinal cord injuries that were recorded in this age category, there was an increase in the number of spinal cord injuries recorded among older citizens. In the 65 and above age group, the number of spinal cord injuries actually increased during the study period. These injuries increased from 79.4 injuries per million adults in 2007, to 87.7 injuries per million adults in 2009.

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Fall accidents are extremely serious, especially when they involve the elderly.It is estimated that between 30% and 40% of all seniors will suffer a fall accident at least once every year.Our Atlanta slip and fall attorneys agree with research that also shows that many of these persons will never recover from their injuries, and many will have a much higher risk of dying in the 12 months following the fall accident.

Treatment for falls and fractures may be routine in the rest of the population but in the elderly, treatment is far more complicated and hard to predict.It’s the reason why it is so important to prevent fall accidents involving the elderly in the first place.

New research seems to suggest that daily doses of vitamin D supplements could actually help reduce the risk of fall accidents involving senior citizens.The research, which was published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that a daily dose of vitamin D supplements helped reduce the risk of fall accidents by as much as 17%.In the study, the subjects were given vitamin D supplements of around 800 international unit per day.The risks of suffering a fall accident was substantially reduced compared to people who did not take the supplements.

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A state report blames a nursing home that failed to supervise two residents who had a history of altercations with each other, for a fatal fight that killed one of the residents.Unfortunately, nursing home abuse situations often arise due to inadequate supervision of residents and/or inadequate training of staff to evaluate the potential for resident-on-resident attacks. As nursing home abuse attorneys know, these attacks can often turn deadly.

Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers have known for a long while that Georgia struggles with providing a safe environment for nursing home residents.In 2002, a report by the American Medical Association found that nursing home abuse problems in Georgia were at crisis levels.In fact, during this period of time, nursing home abuse claims in the state rose not just in frequency, but also in the severity of injuries involved.

Often, elder abuse in nursing homes can be traced to a shortage of staff.Many nursing facilities deal with low reimbursement rates by cutting back on staff numbers, and therefore, eroding the quality of care.As a result, there are fewer numbers of staff members to pay individual attention to senior residents, many of who are in delicate health.

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According to a new exposé by ProPublica, an unknown number of senior citizens who die in nursing homes around the country may have died due to nursing home abuse.However, their families may never know because investigations into such a wrongful death are rare. Nursing home abuse attorneys are well aware of the serious nature of the problem. When investigating these matters, we often find that the nursing home has been active in trying to cover up the abuse, rather than conducting an honest investigation which uncovers the issue and provides useful information to improving the care they provide.

As part of the exposé, the team at ProPublicainvestigated coroner and medical examiner’s office records, and looked at the number of sudden and unusual fatalities at several nursing homes.They found in their investigations that in cases involving seniors who die suddenly, or under any kind of suspicious circumstances, there is no guarantee of any investigation into the death.ProPublicahas reached several conclusions that point to systemic flaws.

For instance, when a senior death is reported as natural, coroners and medical examiners very rarely investigate it.However, the fact is that very often, doctors make errors in judging whether a death is natural or not.In one study conducted in 2008, approximately 50% of doctors were not able to correctly identify the cause of death for an elderly patient who had died after a brain injury that occurred as a result of a fall accident.What this means is that an unknown number of deaths in nursing homes are probably being classified as natural deaths, when they are anything but.