June 15 is World Elder Abuse Prevention Day and, as we represent clients--both patients and the families of deceased patients---who have been abused or neglected in nursing homes, we are hoping an increase in local awareness may help prevent additional cases. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately five million older adults are “abused, neglected, or exploited” each year. This number reflects those adults living at home and those in nursing homes.
Residing in a negligent nursing home leaves an older patient at an elevated risk for serious diseases, chronic infections, injuries, and death. The most common physical forms of neglect for a nursing home patient include dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores or pressure ulcers, and falls. Forms of emotional neglect (e.g., isolation, withholding of a patient's glasses or dentures, etc.) or financial abuse may also occur but oftentimes go unnoticed and unreported. Identifying and reporting nursing home neglect or abuse can mean the difference between life and death for the elderly patient.
In this video, attorney A.J. Serafini discusses nursing home neglect and, in particular, bedsores as a leading indicator of trouble. You can also review our firm's Resources webpage for access to both the Maryland Quality Health Portal for information regarding nursing home inspections and the Maryland Health Care Commission's checklists on selecting a nursing home. Also on the Resources page, we have links to the National Center on Elder Abuse's "Red Flags for Elder Abuse Fact Sheet" and "How to Answer Those Tough Questions About Elder Abuse". Check out these web tools and educational resources and share them with your family and friends.
Most importantly, if you suspect a friend or loved one is undergoing any abuse or neglect, you should take immediate action by contacting an elder abuse attorney for guidance. At The Poole Law Group, our motto is "When it matters most" and we carry the spirit and fight needed to combat these forms of elder abuse.