Putting a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult decision for many families. After all, there are concerns over their safety, with abuse and neglect becoming increasingly common all over the country. In a two-year period, 30 percent of nursing homes received citations for cases of abuse.
No one is immune to the dangers of nursing home abuse and neglect. In fact, it even occurs on a local level. A senior resident in an Oklahoma City nursing home died several months after being abused by a certified nursing assistant. Her family members sued over his mistreatment and were recently awarded a $1.21 million judgment.
In 2012, a hidden camera inside Oklahoma City's Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center caught a certified nursing assistant slapping a resident in the face with latex gloves. The staff member then stuffed the gloves down the woman's throat. Another staff member looked on, but did nothing to stop the abuse.
Both certified nursing assistants were charged with abuse. The one who abused the resident pled guilty, served her sentence and was deported. The other one was out on bail and has since disappeared.
The victim died three months after the incident took place and her daughters filed the lawsuit on her behalf. The former operator of the nursing home was ordered to pay a $1.21 million judgment.
Common Nursing Home Issues
Most cases of nursing home injuries involve neglect, often due to understaffing. Residents are prone to bedsores, poor hygiene, inadequate sanitation, lack of proper medical care, malnutrition and dehydration. Many of these situations, though, still cause harm to residents.
Many residents have brain damage, dementia and other cognitive conditions, and staff members tend to take advantage of these situations. The abuse is devastating. Many seniors suffer lacerations, bruises and broken bones due to slapping, punching, kicking and choking by nursing home staff members. Some staff members also instigate fights between residents. Some nurses even sexually molest or assault residents.
Nursing Home Injuries and Federal Law
Nursing homes are required by law to report incidents of abuse in certain timelines. For example, an incident not causing serious injury must be reported to local law enforcement within 24 hours. An incident causing serious injury must be reported with two hours. If a nursing home fails to comply with this law, they can be fined up to $300,000.
Many nursing homes, however, do fail to report incidents because they don't want to be investigated. Many facilities cover up the abuse and clean up the crime scene, as murderers often do. This means a huge number of incidents go undetected, while the abuse continues.