Nursing Home Abuse in America
The population of elderly Americans is growing rapidly as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age and beyond, and the number of people living in nursing facilities has risen accordingly. This has led to the rise of elderly Americans suffering abuse while in the care of these facilities.
There are about 15,700 nursing homes in the United States with more than 1.3 million residents, and this number is growing every day. Of these people an estimated 10% of residents have reported some kind of nursing home abuse within the last year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has found that over 90% of American nursing homes had at least one failure to meet federal standards. (The average nursing home was found to have about six.) Even more disturbing, in a government study conducted in 2010, more than half of the nursing home staff surveyed admitted to having abused a resident at their facility within the last year. Nursing home abuse is not a rare problem and it is something that may affect you or somebody you know at some point.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse takes a variety of different forms. Some of the most common forms include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. These usually leave obvious signs of some sort, but passive neglect and financial exploitation are also huge problems facing America’s seniors and are much harder for family and friends to identify. It is important for you to stay alert for signs of potential abuse and neglect if you have a loved one living in a nursing facility. Often confusion or shame keeps seniors from reporting incidents of nursing home abuse to their friends and relatives, so families must remain vigilant. This is especially important if the elderly individuals are suffering from dementia. Nearly half of all people over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia, and of those approximately 47% have been mistreated by their caregivers.
The signs of nursing home abuse vary depending on the type of abuse, but generally involve sudden changes in behavior or condition. Besides obvious physical symptoms like bruises, broken bones, abrasions, bedsores, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss, psychological symptoms can include things like unusual depression, withdrawal from a person’s normal activities, and rapidly occurring changes in alertness or mood. Any unexplained changes in a person’s financial situation should also be of concern.
As daunting a task as looking out for the best interests of a friend or loved one in a nursing home facility is, both government and nonprofit resources exist to help. The National Center on Elder Abuse, the United States Administration on Aging, the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, and many other organizations exist to provide you with information and support.
Illinois Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorneys
Nursing home neglect and abuse is a growing problem in the United States. If you or somebody you know has suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect you could be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your expenses, injuries, and suffering. The experienced and compassionate attorneys at the Dinizulu Law Group will work with you to determine the best way to handle your nursing home abuse or neglect claim. Contact us to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.
Protecting Your Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuse: Recognizing Dehydration
In recent years the United States has been seeing a huge growth in Americans over the age of 65. With this, unfortunately, has come a corresponding increase in instances of trusted caregivers taking advantage of some of our country’s most vulnerable citizens. Research studies have shown that victims of nursing home abuse, even in modest or short-term situations, have a 300% increased risk of death than those who have not been victimized. Luckily, by being aware of some of the signs of potential problems faced by the elderly, families can take an active part in protecting their loved ones throughout their golden years.
Dehydration is a serious, potentially fatal risk that is faced by elderly residents of nursing facilities, but also one that is easily treated if recognized early. In a recent study of people in the care of nursing facilities by author Janet Mentes, 31% of the residents examined were found to be dehydrated. This can be caused by medications and certain conditions such as diabetes, but is also a result of changes in the body that occur as people age. Serious, potentially fatal complications can occur from long-term or severe dehydration, including heat exhaustion or heatstroke, cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), seizures, hypovolemic shock (caused by low blood volume), kidney failure, comas, and potentially death. Luckily the early stages of dehydration are easy to treat, and by being aware of the symptoms dangerous medical problems can be avoided.
Mild to Moderate Dehydration
The symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration tend to be fairly innocuous individually, so it is important to take note if you notice several of them occurring at once. They may seem sleepy or irritable, complain of headaches, dizziness, or cramping in their arms and legs. More specific symptoms that show evidence the body is lacking water are a dry, sticky feeling in the mouth and dry skin. Most importantly, as a person becomes dehydrated, his or her need to urinate disappears as the body tries to conserve liquids. If someone can not remember the last time he or she urinated, chances are it was too long ago and more fluids are required. When a person who is dehydrated does pass urine, it will be of a dark color – the darker the color typically the more dehydrated the person is.
As a person becomes progressively more dehydrated, additional symptoms begin to appear. The mucous membranes dry out and the patient begins to develop sunken eyes. Skin will also begin to lose its elasticity and it will no longer “bounce back” when folded or pressed on. In the last stages of dehydration the patient can develop low blood pressure, fever, and a rapid heartbeat and breathing. This can potentially lead to them slipping into delirium and unconsciousness.
Severe dehydration is an emergency. It is potentially lethal and requires immediate medical attention, especially in elderly and pediatric patients. If you suspect that you or a loved one is showing symptoms of severe dehydration, contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
Illinois Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorneys
Nursing home neglect and abuse is a growing problem in the United States. If you or somebody you know has suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect, you could be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your expenses, injuries, and suffering. The experienced and compassionate attorneys at the Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. will work with you to determine the best way to handle your nursing home abuse or neglect claim. Contact us to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.