A large percentage of the U.S. is aging; statistics show that in 2019, 16.5 percent of Americans were 65 years old or older. If current trends continue, it’s expected that 22 percent of the population will be 65 or older by 2050.
Many elderly people are unable to care for themselves or live independently and rely on assistance from family members or home-care providers. When those options aren’t available, many elderly adults move to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. The National Center for Biotechnology Information indicates that approximately 1.5 million adults live in nursing homes, and 1 million live in assisted living facilities.
Unfortunately, these facilities often fail to protect residents from health threats, physical and verbal aggression, and emotional and sexual abuse. Nursing home residents are also vulnerable to financial exploitation. While the perpetrators of elder abuse are sometimes family members, this sort of treatment also comes from other residents and/or employees of care facilities.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. It provides data on elder abuse. Studies show that between 10 percent and 16 percent of elders experience abuse, including psychological, physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse. Neglect is also reported frequently.
The NCEA states that these numbers are likely inaccurate; most incidents of abuse are unreported and undetected. In fact, one study indicates that there are 24 cases of undetected abuse for every single case that gets reported to authorities.
The World Health Organization offers additional statistics on elder abuse in nursing homes and other institutional settings. According to the WHO, studies show that 64.2 percent of staff members in care facilities report perpetrating some form of elder abuse.In the U.S., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) maintains a rating system for nursing homes. The system rates the quality of care in a nursing home based on criteria such as annual inspections, surveys or complaints, and nursing-staff-to-resident ratios. Data from 2019 shows that in that year, 38 percent of nursing homes in the CMS system had a rating of “below average” or “much below average.”
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services publishes an annual report on elder abuse and neglect in the state. According to the 2020 report, there were 985 allegations of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation in situations where the victim was living in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
A November 2021 Nursing Home Inspect report from ProPublica indicates that there are concerns about many of Wisconsin’s nursing homes. In terms of the number of nursing homes with serious deficiencies, Wisconsin is in the top ten list of states with these problems. Approximately 31 percent of CMS nursing homes in Wisconsin had at least one serious deficiency in the past three years.
There are several warning signs of elder abuse or neglect:
In many cases, individuals are unable or unwilling to report abuse. If you notice any of these potential signs of abuse, you can file a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Quality Assurance (DQA). Contact a nursing home abuse attorney to learn whether you have the option to pursue a legal case against the care facility.
Statistics show that elder abuse is unfortunately common in nursing homes and other care facilities in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S. In many cases, abuse and neglect continue simply because residents aren’t able to report it. Family members who suspect abuse often don’t know how to report it or stop it.
At Boller & Vaughan, we know that there are many Wisconsin nursing homes that provide excellent care. However, we also know that there are other assisted living facilities and nursing homes that neglect and abuse their residents. We are committed to fighting for victims and their families.If you suspect a loved one is receiving inadequate care in a Wisconsin facility, contact Boller & Vaughan. During your free consultation with our team of nursing home abuse attorneys, you can discuss your concerns and learn what your legal options are. To make an appointment at our Madison office, call 608-268-0268 or contact us online.
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Elder abuse is all too common in nursing homes and care facilities in Wisconsin and throughout the country. Unfortunately, this issue can be easy to ignore if it doesn’t immediately affect you or someone you […]
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We live in Friendship, Wisconsin, and Boller & Vaughan came to our doorstep to discuss our mother’s wrongful death claim on a Saturday morning. Not only were we pleased with the large recovery, we were so thankful to have lawyers who were willing to explain to us every twist and turn along the way. It is great to know there is a law firm that will fight for the rights of elderly people all over Wisconsin.
Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan were incredible in working on my case and my daughter’s case. I was out of work and in the hospital with a new baby. Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan protected our rights and it was a pleasure to work with them. I hope never to be in another motor vehicle accident, however, if I am and I am injured, I will contact Boller & Vaughan immediately.
I was referred to Michelle through a friend. I have never had a better experience. It took a little over a year to get my settlement but the staff there stayed in constant contact and kept me in the loop. Oh, and Michelle actually got me MORE money than we discussed. I will refer anyone to this firm. Words cannot do justice the thanks that I have for Michelle and her staff (Mary especially) thank you guys so much!
After my husband died as a result of a motor vehicle accident, Boller & Vaughan spent countless hours talking with me, meeting with me in person, and making sure that I was okay. The drunk driver who hit us did not have any insurance, and we had to make a claim through our own insurance. Boller & Vaughan was fantastic at explaining the law to me and the handling of our claims.
After my son was injured in a daycare setting, Ms. Vaughan took the time to thoroughly investigate our case and my son’s injuries. Michele was approachable and had answers to our questions. Talking with her helped to relieve many of our anxieties.