Over the past year, the usage of long-term care assistance and facilities has risen and is expected to continue to grow across the United States. It is estimated that 52% of people turning age 65 will need some type of long-term care services in their lifetime.
Those Americans in the lowest income brackets have the highest long-term care needs. Currently, 31% of individuals over 65, those in the lowest 20% of household incomes, have a long-term care need of two years or longer. This is compared to 22% of individuals in the highest 20% of household incomes.
The median annual nursing-home cost for a semi-private room in 2017 was $85,775. The cost of a private room in 2017 annually was $97,455. However, the median annual income for households headed by individuals 65 or older is $39,823.
Undertrained and Inadequately Staffed Nursing Homes
The gap between the need for long-term care and the ability to pay for it leaves Medicare and Medicaid picking up much of the cost. A recent study found that 33% of nursing home residents who receive Medicare experience adverse events resulting in harm or death during the first 35 days of their nursing home stay.
Nursing home injuries and abuse often are a result of understaffed and underfunded facilities with too many residents in proportion to caregivers. Residents may not receive adequate medical or emotional attention. The National Center on Elder Abuse has estimated that one nursing home patient out of twenty has been the victim of negligence or injury and notes that the number may be higher than this.
Most nursing home injury and abuse cases go unknown and unreported. Often a loved one is unable to communicate about the abuse that has occurred. Therefore, it is important to be alert and know common signs of abuse.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Some common signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Marks on the elderly person’s wrists
- Frequent arguments between a caregiver and an elderly person
- Unusual weight loss or malnutrition
- Unsuitable clothing for the weather
- Significant withdrawals from an elderly person’s bank accounts
- Falling injuries
- Caregivers who refuse to let family members visit alone with an elderly person
Three Types of Nursing Home Abuse
There are three basic types of nursing home abuse: physical abuse, neglect, and financial abuse.
Physical abuse can include the following:
- Use of physical or chemical restraint as punishment or not as authorized by physician
Neglect includes but is not limited to:
- Failure to assist in personal hygiene
- Failure to provide medical care
- Failure to protect
- Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration
Financial abuse is defined as:
- A person who has the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult;
- Who takes, keeps or appropriates money or property, to any wrongful use;
- Or with the intent to defraud.
What to do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect your loved one is being abused, the National Center on Elder Abuse has a list of Arkansas specific resources to contact. Due to the complexities of nursing home abuse laws and regulations, it may also be in your best interests to contact an experienced Arkansas nursing home abuse attorney.
A nursing home injury or abuse case is different than a criminal case. A criminal case is meant to punish the offending party through jail or imprisonment. A nursing home injury or abuse case is a civil lawsuit meant to compensate you or your loved one for the injuries or abuse suffered.
The nursing home abuse attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan LeVar will provide you with a complimentary case evaluation to determine if you have a valid legal claim against the nursing home.
If you do have a claim, the experienced team of legal professionals at the Law Offices of Alan LeVar will conduct a thorough review of all associated medical and legal documents, interview any witnesses, and help you determine a course of action for your case.
If you or your loved one are suffering due to nursing home injuries or abuse in Arkansas, do not hesitate to call the professionals at the Law Offices of Alan LeVar. There is a time limit in which these cases must be filed. With offices in Little Rock, Bentonville, Conway, and Arkadelphia, we are here for you and ready to help.