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.
Although there have been earlier studies that have focused on care standards at for-profit nursing homes, these studies focused more on the prevalence of individual signs of neglect, like injuries or bed sores. This study is one of the first studies that explores all areas of neglect that residents may be subjected to, and therefore, gives a more comprehensive picture of care standards at these faculties.
There are several reasons why care is worse at for-profit facilities, compared to non-profit facilities. For-profit facilities need to report healthy bottom lines and profits, and one of the most effective ways of doing this is by cutting down staff numbers. This results in fewer staff members looking after residents. To make the situation even worse, lower ranking staff members, who actually care for residents directly, are paid lesser at these facilities compared to top management, which leads to further declines in care for the elderly residents.
The researchers recommend increased staffing policies in order to ensure optimum care to residents, as well as stronger adherence to federal laws that link Medicare and Medicaid payments with levels of care.
Lack of care is a form of elder abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused at a nursing facility, talk to him or her, if possible. Residents often provide clues to neglect that family members may fail to take seriously. Failure to provide food on time, failure to provide medications in a timely manner, signs of bruises or rough handling, dirty clothing, lack of personal hygiene, filthy bedding, bed sores, weight loss or signs of malnutrition –all of these point to a culture of neglect that you must investigate. Question staff about the neglect in a calm manner.
If your loved one is in a nursing home and you have noticed signs of neglect like bed sores or malnutrition, we encourage you to take action immediately to protect your loved one’s interests. Talk to an Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer to understand what you can do to protect your loved one.
If you suspect that the neglect is chronic or extreme, or you are concerned about your course of action, talk to an attorney about your rights. The Atlanta nursing home abuse attorneys at the Katz Law Firm represent persons who have been injured as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.