Elderly and disabled individuals suffer horrendous abuse and neglect on a daily basis in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities throughout the United States. Negligent care and treatment results in pressure sores (decubitus ulcers), malnutrition, dehydration and pneumonia. Lack of supervision and purposeful activities lead to wandering, falls, burns as a result of unsupervised smoking, and physical, mental and emotional deterioration. Abuse includes sexual assault and rape; physical beatings and injury including intentional burns; and excessive use of physical and chemical restraint for staff convenience. All too often this neglect and abuse results in painful deaths of nursing home residents.
The care of our elderly and infirm should be performed in a manner that is dignified and affords residents the care to which they pay for. Unfortunately, the drive for profit often compromises the dignity and the care that is rendered to residents of nursing homes and extended care facilities.
When bedsores erupt because of poor nutrition and lack of proper positioning the facility may be negligent.
When residents are fed via tubes that have been placed incorrectly and the feeding continues for an extended period of time and an overwhelming infection occurs resulting in death the facility may be negligent.
Most of the categories of negligence in the hospital context are applicable to nursing homes. Because the drive for profits is acute the staffing levels are often scant at best and residents do not receive the care for which they pay — either personally, through private insurance or by federal or state monies paid by Medicare or Medicaid.
Physicians who contract with facilities may only afford residents cursory examinations resulting in adequate or incomplete treatment.
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