On Monday, the United States Senate released a list of nearly 400 nursing home that had “a persistent record of poor care.” Thirty-four California nursing homes are on the list. It highlights a growing problem both in the state and across the country.
Many of the problems relate to a lack of budget for care-facility inspections. Eighty of the nursing-home facilities on the Senate’s list, including six in California, are on the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program. It is an initiative attempting to raise standards of practice.
Nursing homes by the numbers
Around 1.3 million Americans reside in more than 15,700 nursing homes nationwide. Of the 15,700 facilities, 69.3 percent run a for-profit model.
In California, about 110,000 people live in 1,300 licensed nursing homes. Another 150,000 live in 7,500 residential care facilities for the elderly. And 150,000 people live in unlicensed nursing homes which may not provide adequate care.
Spotting nursing-home abuse
If you have a love one who is a nursing-home resident, be on the lookout for signs of abuse. Abuse of the elderly in nursing homes can come in many forms. It includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and neglect. The following are all red flags that might indicate a problem:
- Physical abuse: Unexplained cuts, bruises or fractures; signs of restraints on wrists or ankles; your loved one is fearful of a particular staff member
- Emotional abuse: Newly developed anxiety, depression or insomnia; behaviors that resemble dementia
- Sexual abuse: Unexplained sexually-transmitted infections; bruising or bleeding near the genitals or anus; stained or bloody underwear
- Financial abuse: Cash, checks or credit cards missing from your loved one’s room; unexplained changes in account balances or credit scores; changes in power of attorney or wills
- Neglect: Unanswered call lights at the facility; malnourishment or dehydration; lack of cleanliness at the facility; loved ones’ health suddenly worsens; missed medications
If you believe your loved one resides in a nursing home and lacks adequate care, you may want to seek legal advice. A lawyer can guide you in finding a new home for your loved one and get them any compensation they might be owed for their experience.