In New Jersey and across the United States, nursing home abuse cases have been on the rise. In fact, at Boonton Care Center in Morris County, NJ, a patient was recently pulled off of the toilet by her hair at the hands of an abusive CNA (certified nursing assistant). As with many nursing home abuse cases, witnesses can be intimidated and refrain from reporting the poor behavior. To complicate matters, many victims of nursing home abuse are incoherent and suffer from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and dementia that can make it difficult for them to recall traumatic abuses. Typically, residents without regular visits from loved ones and friends are most susceptible to nursing home abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse in New Jersey
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “abuse related citations nationwide are on the rise, jumping from 3,083 in 2016 to 4,107 in 2018”. Last year alone, there were over 350 complaints filed to the hotline controlled by New Jersey’s long term care ombudsman. Clocking in at 364 reported incidents, the bulk of nursing home abuse cases in New Jersey in 2018 are classified as “resident-to-resident physical or sexual abuse”. Notably, verbal abuse is another popular mechanism of mistreatment at long-term care facilities.
While many cases of nursing home abuse are perpetrated by caretaker and CNA’s who work at the facility, there are also a multitude of cases involving other residents inflicting distress on to other residents. However, it is the responsibility of the center to appropriately assess this threat and mitigate the danger that unruly residents may cause to other patients.
As the global population ages due to improved medical and technological advancements, nursing home abuse becomes a more prevalent issue. For example, a 2008 survey indicates that the elder population is expected to reach 84 million by the year 2050.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?
According to data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States. Out of this figure, roughly 70% are for-profit institutions. Since these centers rely on profits to survive, nursing home management often hires inexperienced or poorly trained staff in order to cut costs and increase their profitability. This can be considered absurd, taking into account the rising cost of long-term care in the United States. Since many patients pay centers upwards of $80,000 annually for care, they expect a higher standard of care.
The Department of Health in the United States holds nursing homes to a high standard, outlined in the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. This provided many protections to patients and their families, including the ability to monitor and update the patient’s Care Plan. Nursing home facilities must be in compliance with these federal regulations in order to receive tax dollars from Medicare and Medicaid to fund operations.
Contact a Reputable Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Unfortunately, these regulations are often not enough. If you or loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, contact the Aretsky Law Group P.C. in order to protect your family’s rights and ensure that you are properly compensated for any violations of patient rights that may have occurred at a nursing home.