For many families in Mississippi, the thought of elderly loved ones suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect is a nightmare. Elders in poorly run facilities may suffer from physical, sexual and emotional abuse, financial exploitation or neglect that leads to serious falls and other health problems. Data from one state indicates that the problem could be on the rise. Between 2011 and 2017, cases of elder abuse in Connecticut shot up significantly. While there were 3,529 cases reported in 2011, that number became 11,123 six years later.
Of course, not all of these reports involved nursing home abuse. Some of the reports involved family caregivers stealing from or abusing their elderly relatives. Others involved neglectful home care nurses. Still others were a way for concerned neighbors to seek help for lone seniors who were apparently unable to care for themselves, thus neglecting their own health. However, there was a significant increase in the number of reports involving nursing homes and care facilities. Connecticut's ombudsman for long-term care facilities said that complaints went up by 15 percent.
There are lots of understaffed nursing homes, including a number of for-profit facilities. As a result of low staffing levels, even seniors with high medical needs may not receive the care that they require. This could lead to falls, brain injuries, malnutrition, bedsores and other problems caused by systematic neglect. In other cases, facilities may do little research or background checking of their employees. This could also leave elders vulnerable to physical abuse or sexual exploitation.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide appropriate care to their residents. When they fail to do so, the consequences can be catastrophic. Family members with an elderly loved one who has been injured by nursing home neglect can work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for the damages caused.