40.3 million Americans, or 13% of the total population, registered as 65 or older in the 2010 census. This is the greatest number of proportion of residents over 65. This “Boomer Generation” effect is seen to last for several years to come. This also paves the way for higher chances of elderly abuse.
More than 1.4 million Americans were living in nursing homes as of December 31, 2012, which corresponds to 2.8 percent of the over-65 population and a little over 10% of the over-85 population. Abuse and neglect of these elderly populations are becoming national concerns.
Abuse and Neglect
Abuse and neglect are the most common forms of complaints in nursing homes. Neglect happens when there is failure, either intentional or otherwise, to provide a patient with the care and services necessary to ensure they are free from harm or pain. It’s also a failure to react to a potentially dangerous situation that results in the patient being harmed.
Abuse, meanwhile, is the intentional infliction of injury, intimidation, punishment, unreasonable confinement, or any form of care deprivation that results in physical harm for the patient.
Signs and Symptoms
CMAMedicalMalpracticeLaw.com cites the most common forms of negligence and abuse in nursing homes includes failure to monitor nursing home patients, to properly administer medications, and to rotate patients, which results in bedsores.
Other forms of abuse include dehydration, falls, gangrene, malnutrition, medication errors, and wrongful death, among others. Elderly abuse and neglect basically boils down to the breach of duty of careby nursing homes and other facilities.
Prevalence and Prevention
Based on data collected by the National Center on Elder Abuse, over 50% of nursing home staff surveyed admitted to mistreating patients. This involved physical abuse, mental abuse, and neglect in the older patients.
In a study from 1999-2001, it showed that about 30% of nursing homes violated federal standards—violations that could have possibly harmed residents. In a survey of 2,000 patients, 44% said they had experienced abuse in their nursing homes, and 95% said they experienced neglect firsthand or seen it through another resident.
Nursing home abuse was something that often went unnoticed in the past. With studies, reports, and congressional hearings about this type of abuse and neglect, however, hopefully instances of these unfortunate events will go down.