Articles Tagged with nursing home

elderly-1461424_1920-thumb-350x233-90117-thumb-350x233-97162-300x200When you place your loved one in the care of trained staff at a nursing home, the last thing you think about is the possibility that your relative may succumb to a fatal infection. But that is what is happening around the country, as elderly patients in overcrowded nursing homes fall victim to severe infections–called sepsis–as a result of bedsores, according to an investigation by Kaiser Health News and The Chicago Tribune.

A federal report recently revealed that sepsis is the most common reason for transferring patients from a nursing home to a hospital, and death occurs much more often in sepsis cases than in hospitalizations for other reasons. Sadly, as many as 25,000 patients a year are transferred to hospitals suffering from sepsis, according to a report by a private health care data firm. And the statistics in Illinois are similarly bleak: every year about 6,000 nursing home residents are hospitalized for sepsis, and 1 in 5 pass away.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of a serious infection in the bloodstream that can develop in bedridden patients. These serious infections are often the result of bedsores–also called pressure sores–that go untreated in nursing homes. Fully 60% of nursing homes in Illinois have been cited for failing to properly treat bedsores. Elderly residents, who may be in fragile health already, can have difficulty recovering from sepsis, and that is why it is so deadly.

dependent-441408_1280.jpgBy 2050, people age 65 and older will make up 20% of the total U.S. population. The fastest growing group of American’s are those 85 years old and up. According to the last census in 2010, there were 5.8 million age 85 or older. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be 19 million people aged 85 years or older. Moreover, 1 in 8 people age 85 or older resides in a nursing home or long-term care facility. As the need for skilled nursing home care grows, so does the rate of elder abuse and neglect.

As the population ages, more and more Americans are needing long-term medical care. Annually over 8 million people receive support from the following long-term care services:

1. Home health agencies (4,742,500);

elderly-1461424_1920.jpgAs the population in the United States continues to age, it is estimated that there will be 19 million Americans over the age of 85 by the year 2050. Currently 1 in 8 Americans resides in a long-term care facility or nursing home. This doesn’t even factor in the number of people who need short-term stays in nursing homes for rehabilitation or following medical procedures or injuries.

The choice of a nursing home is an important one. In 2002 the New York Times reported that Federal studies showed that nearly 90% of nursing homes were understaffed and lacked the capabilities to handle the number of patients in their facilities. Since this 2002 study, many facilities still remain vastly understaffed.

Additionally, sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect is more common than one might think. From unwitnessed falls, dehydration and malnutrition, to pressure ulcers, nursing homes without adequate and well-trained staff can cause serious injuries or even death for residents.

Nursing home residents have rights which are protected under federal law, and which must be explained to the resident in understandable language. In summary, these are the rights (See the link below from Medicare.gov. for a more detailed description):

(1) To be treated with respect.family-515530_1920.jpg

(2) To participate in activities.

A shift in power and control has returned to those who most need it – nursing home residents and their families. In a recent ruling, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) prohibited mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements between federally funded nursing homes and their residents. Prior to the new ruling, many nursing homes required residents to sign an arbitration agreement which forced residents to solve any dispute that may arise between them and the nursing home outside of court. These agreements heavily favored the nursing homes and took away a resident’s power to use the court system for injuries caused by a nursing home’s wrongful conduct.

The ruling is a strong attempt to return that power back to the plaintiffs in disputes concerning nursing homes. This is especially important in cases involving negligence, elder abuse, sexual harassment and even wrongful death. Arbitration keeps these cases out of the view of the public and often leads to much smaller rewards or settlements for those harmed by the home.

The CMS, a federal agency within the Department for Health and Human Services, controls more than $1 trillion in Medicare and Medicaid funding. They passed the rule after 16 different states and the District of Columbia lobbied the government to completely cut funding to nursing homes that had arbitration clauses in their residency agreements. They argued that “arbitration kept patterns of wrongdoing hidden from prospective residents and their families”.

Are you concerned that a family member is being abused or neglected at a nursing home? Mistreatment at the hands of a caregiver can happen in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. The mistreatment may take the form of physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, or even financial exploitation. Signs of elder abuse differ but each type of abuse has distinct signs associated with it.

  • Physical abuse can be detected by visible signs on the body, including bruises, scars, sprains, or broken bones. More subtle indications of physical abuse include a fear of certain caregivers.
  • Emotional abuse often accompanies the other types of abuse and can usually be detected by changes in personality or behavior, such as being emotionally agitated or extremely withdrawn. The elder may also exhibit behavior mimicking dementia, such as rocking or mumbling.

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