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Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, the lawyers at Bourque Clegg Causey & Morin can help. Unfortunately, the prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect is on the rise as our elderly population continues to increase. Studies have shown that nearly two million seniors have experienced some form of abuse or neglect. But only one out of every fourteen incidents of abuse or neglect are reported each year. Signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can include:

  • Decubitus Ulcers (bed or pressure sores)
  • Unexplained cuts and bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sepsis
  • Unexplained changes in mood or behavior
  • Multiple falls
  • Brain injuries
  • Malnutrition and Dehydration
  • Leaving the facility without supervision
  • Death

Nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities in Maine and across the country must adhere to certain state and federal regulations. These regulations have been put in place to protect residents from suffering from abuse and neglect. These long-term facilities are routinely monitored through inspection surveys to ensure that these facilities are complying with the state and federal regulations. If a facility fails to comply with these regulations, the facility will be cited and possibly fined. Most skilled nursing facilities are subject to review, the results of which can be found online using the nursing home compare function on the website.

Often times, multiple or repeated survey citations can show that a facility is understaffed, which places residents at greater risk for suffering injuries. Nursing home understaffing is one of the biggest contributing factors to nursing home abuse and neglect. Understaffing leads to incomplete and inaccurate information in the resident's chart, malnutrition, dehydration, poor hygiene, infections, falls, and fatal mistakes in providing care.

If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse and neglect, please give our firm a call to set up a free consult with one of our lawyers. Your best first call is to us at (207) 324-4422.  Someone can help you right away.

Common Signs of Abuse and Neglect

Pressure Sores: Nursing homes are required to “ensure that [a] resident who enters [a nursing home] without pressure sores does not develop pressure sores unless the individual's clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable.” 42 C.F.R. § 483.25(c)(1). The development of pressure sores can reflect whether adequate care was provided to a resident. Pressure ulcers are for the most part avoidable and largely related to substandard nursing assessment and care. A nursing home can prevent pressure sores by implementing a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, proactive prevention program which requires sufficient surveillance and documentation. However, if a resident has developed a pressure sore or was admitted with one, the nursing home must ensure that the resident r receive necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection, and prevent new pressure sores from developing. An adequate prevention program should include turning and repositioning the resident every few hours to relieve pressure from the resident's bony prominences. Pressure sores that do not receive adequate treatment can grow, become infected, and may require painful surgery (debridement).

Infections: Nursing homes are required “maintain an infection control program” and a “sanitary environment to avoid sources and transmissions of infections.” §§ 483.65; 483.70. Infections that can be signs of abuse or neglect include: urinary tract infections, osteomyelitis, healthcare acquired pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia, influenza, sepsis, respiratory infections, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (C. Diff), cellulitis, and scabies./

Malnutrition and Hydration: Adequate hydration and nutrition is particularly important for seniors to maintain normal function, mobility, maintenance, and skin integrity. Residents who are dependent on staff sometimes do not receive the assistance they need to eat and drink. Without proper nutrition or hydration, residents typically begin to lose weight and strength. This can cause a variety of serious medical issues that can have terrible consequences for the resident.

Falls: Nursing homes are required to examine risk factors that cause falls or accidents and take steps to eliminate those risks. See 42 CFR 483.25(h). Precautionary fall prevention measures to reduce a resident's risk of falling can include, lowering a resident's bed, increased supervision, fall mats, reducing certain medications that affect a resident's balance, non-slip socks, etc. The consequences of falls can be significant and result in severe injury or death. Repeated falls and minor injuries can compromise a resident's health condition and accelerate their decline.

If you are aware of any of these signs in the care of a loved one at a nursing home or long term care facility call us at (207) 324-4422.

If you are simply concerned about the quality of care for an elderly person at such a facility, your best first call is to (207) 324-4422.  Someone is here to help you right away. 

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