Nursing Home Abuse Continues to be Underreported

Every nursing home resident has rights guaranteed to them under the Nursing Home Bill of Rights, which was established as part of the Nursing Home Reform Act. These rights include the right to live free of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment; the right to be treated with dignity; and the right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal, among many others.


Even with these protections, nearly 85 percent of all instances of nursing home abuse goes unreported. This means that for every case reported, five cases go unreported. It is sad that nursing home staff fail to protect and enforce the rights of individuals who are vulnerable and at the mercy of their caregivers.


This statistic, along with the fact that the population is aging and the demand for nursing home care is rising, presents a looming crisis. The quality of care will likely continue to decrease because of a lack of experienced staff. As such, the need for recognition and enforcement of nursing home rights is more pressing than ever.


To enforce their rights, residents must do their part to come forward when they have suffered abuse at the hands of a caregiver. Additionally, families of residents must be engaged in the lives and care of their seniors. These individuals may be better suited to identify and report issues about the care their family member is receiving to the nursing home facility.


Families may also able to advocate effectively on behalf of the resident to enforce their rights in long-term care. Families can contact their state ombudsman if discussions with the nursing home administration do not yield results. The ombudsman’s involvement can often be the sort of pressure necessary to effect change, as their investigations can result in punishment at the federal and state level.


The Nursing Home Bill of Rights protects residents from reprisals due to voicing complaints. If the facility’s care of resident or attention declines due to the resident’s complaints, the federal government could intervene and punish the nursing home.


Finally, families should be aware that there are attorneys who are experienced in fighting nursing home abuse and neglect by bringing lawsuits against the nursing home facility. These attorneys focus on enforcing the rights guaranteed to residents and ensuring that each person receives quality attention and care. Families should not hesitate to consult with an attorney to determine what legal recourse may be available.


With nearly eighty-five percent of nursing home abuse cases going unreported, families and residents should be aware of their legal protections. Even if the administration does not cooperate with complaints, families can take action through government agencies without fear of retribution.


If a family desires further justice for their senior, they can file a personal injury claim with the help of an attorney. If you suspect your loved one is being abused, do not let your case be another unreported one. Act today.