Many elderly Americans benefit from the care they receive in nursing homes and other types of assisted-living centers. But two recent government reports indicate that elder neglect and abuse is rampant nationwide, and that the underreporting of suspected abuse and a lack of oversight remain obstacles to preventing neglect and abuse.
In this post, the Madison, Wisconsin, nursing home abuse lawyers at Boller & Vaughan take a closer look at new data and discuss how you can protect your elderly loved ones.
In June, the bipartisan Senate report “Families’ and Residents’ Right to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes” identified nearly 400 facilities across the United States that have “persistent records of poor care.” Eleven of the care centers listed are in Wisconsin.
report focuses primarily on instances of neglect and abuse that occur in
facilities associated with the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, which was
created to increase oversight of care centers that consistently underperform in
required state inspections in the areas of care standards and resident
of nursing home neglect and abuse identified in the report include:
Approximately 1.3 million Americans live in about 15,600 nursing homes and other types of assisted-living centers, according to a USA Today article about the report. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can publicly disclose the names of nursing homes in the SFF program that fail to resolver documented issues. If the sites don’t improve, their access to Medicare and Medicaid can be cut off.
These problematic facilities are also highlighted on the government’s Nursing Home Compare website, which contains information about every Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country.
Another new government report—this one by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—found that many cases of elder neglect or abuse severe enough to require medical attention were not reported to enforcement agencies as required by law.
audit indicates that nursing homes failed to report nearly 1 in 5 instances of potential
abuse or neglect to the state inspection agencies responsible for investigating
such claims. In five states where inspectors did investigate and substantiate
instances of neglect or abuse, 97 percent had not been reported to local law
enforcement as required.
that not all instances of elder neglect or abuse occur in nursing homes and
assisted-living centers, the report took a broader look at underreporting.
Auditors projected that of more than 30,000 potential cases of elder neglect or
abuse between January 2015 and June 2017, about one-third went unreported to
law enforcement or Adult Protective Services.
One thing both of these reports indicate is that it is critical for family members and other loved ones to be aware of signs of elder neglect and abuse.
home residents are not always able to communicate neglect or abuse, and even
those who are may fear retaliation if they report their abusers. Family members
and loved ones of those living in nursing homes can help stop and prevent abuse
in part by making their presence felt on a regular basis and making
observations regarding the facility’s cleanliness, resident interactions with
staff, living and dining conditions, medication access, etc.
If you suspect an elderly individual is a victim of neglect or abuse and needs immediate medical attention, you should contact local law enforcement or call 911. If you believe an elderly individual may be a victim of neglect or abuse but does not require emergency medical help, you should contact your regional Wisconsin Elder Adult At-Risk Help Line.
also a good idea to discuss the situation with an experienced nursing home
abuse attorney. Instances of neglect and abuse in nursing homes and other care
centers are rarely limited to a single person. A lawyer who has experience with
elder abuse cases can fight for the compensation victims and their families
need to cope with medical expenses and other damages, while helping ensure that
the maltreatment stops before other innocent people suffer.
Madison attorneys at Boller & Vaughan are dedicated to helping Wisconsin
elder abuse victims. We offer free consultations to help you understand your
options, and we don’t charge for our services unless we recover compensation on
If you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse in Wisconsin, please call us today at 608-268-0268 or contact us online.
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At least 10 percent of individuals 65 and older are believed to be victims of neglect or abuse, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, and that number is likely much higher as many […]
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