Nursing home negligence in supervising residents and ensuring a safe ambience may result in aggressive encounters, such as one attacking and injuring the other. According to a study presented at the recent Gerontological Society of America meeting, one in every five elders living in US long-term care facilities suffers from invasive, disruptive or hostile incidents within four weeks of their arrival. While negligent staff members seem almost unmindful of any such actions despite appearance of unexplained bruises, we believe and submit that the horrific possibility is common at nursing homes in Kentucky.
The study, a collaborative research project involving scholars of New York’s Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medical College, is the first-ever such research to determine the extent of “elder mistreatment between residents in nursing homes.” It listed “acts of verbal or physical abuse, inappropriate sexual behavior, or invasion of privacy, among other incidents among others as resident-to-resident elder mistreatment.” Researchers found such abuse is widespread in daily life of patients and mostly go underreported due to the negligent attitude of nursing home staff and management.
As noted by the study: “Nursing home care is essential for some older Americans; these are very necessary institutions and often very caring institutions. So it may come as a surprise that we found such high rates of conflict and violence. It’s very likely that the consequences of resident-to-resident mistreatment are severe, leading to lacerations, bruises and fractures. The residents’ frailty makes these altercations more dangerous.”
The increasing number of nursing home neglect lawsuits filed in Kentucky in recent years has put the focus on the mistreatment of elders at long-term care facilities. Policy makers and the public are equally concerned over the profit-seeking business models of these centers that encourages negligence. Focus on mistreatment and abuse perpetrated by staff at assisted-living facilities has overshadowed violence by cohabitants until the latest revelations.
Researchers broadly divided the resident-to-resident elder mistreatment into the following types.
- Verbal: Shouting at, yelling, abusing, etc.
- Physical: Attacking, hitting, biting, etc.
- Sexual: Seeking sexual favor, touching genitals, exposing residents, rapes, etc.
- Unwelcome entry or forcibly using other’s possessions
- Disruptive behavior
- Medical injuries such as medication errors, bed sores, physical injuries and more.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Elder mistreatment is a violation of both legal and human rights. If you notice your loved one has the following symptoms or notice abnormal signs, we recommend you first report the alleged nursing home neglect to Kentucky adult protection authorities.
- Bed sores or pressure ulcers
- Asphyxiation or breathing difficulties
- Malnutrition, dehydration, or bleeding
- Falls, fractures, or physically restrained
- Emotional withdrawal
- Behavioral changes
- Physical discomfort
- Unexplained injuries or bruises
- Upset, non-communicative, or agitated
- Infections or excessive weight loss
- Living without assisted care or old-age aids
- Fear of nursing home staff
- Reluctance to complain
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions at care center
- Unexpected death
- Preference for isolation
- Bruises on sexual parts
- Passive behavior of facility staff or management
- Lack of medical treatment
- Wrong medication
- Fear of other room mates
- Negative environment
- Changes in the resident’s will
- Over billing or sudden financial problems faced by residents
According to a 2010 report, 11 percent (11%) of elders face the risk of abuse, which is four-time higher when they are residents of assisted-living care centers. Nursing home neglect in Kentucky is a growing problem with many of about 300 facilities found lacking proper and planned care, safe and positive environment, and provision for nutritious and hygienic food.
If you have reasons to believe that a resident is subject to abuse at a nursing home in Kentucky, please contact us or call on 1-866-447-0150 to discuss the best possible course of action.