Amid the Pandemic, Nursing Home Abuse Remains a Reality

  • Dan T. Matrafajlo
  • Wed Jan 2021
  • Nursing Home Abuse,
  • 0

nursing home elder abuseWhen the pandemic hit New Jersey, it ravaged long term care facilities. Many went into shut down mode, and the threat of nursing home abuse became even more of an unfortunate reality.

Few dispute the advantage of family interaction with patients confined to long term care facilities. Truth be told, visitation does not just serve to lift the spirits of a loved one unable to live at home. It also acts as a means of checking in to make sure everything is in order.

Most associate nursing homes with the elderly, who are dealing with age-related problems. However, group homes and other facilities exist to accommodate the needs of developmentally disabled individuals.

An August 2020 report from the federal government reviewed incidents of potential abuse or neglect related to Medicaid Beneficiaries Residing in Nursing Facilities. Admittedly, the analysis is based on a sampling of 2016 claims. More than likely, the results for this year could be even more alarming.

From all appearances, government authorities recognize that some nursing homes fall short when it comes to reporting abuse and neglect. Fears of COVID-19 made the situation all that more difficult.

One excuse focuses on staffing issues, while others suggest a lack of oversight intensified the problem. The coronavirus outbreak did not just raise fears of spreading the disease. Without question, it changed the way long term care facilities operated as a whole.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

For a moment, picture this somewhat typical scene relayed to us by a client who retained our services to pursue a claim. For months, the fifty-year-old woman was unable to visit her mother in a well-regarded nursing home in Northern New Jersey.

At times, the facility used technology to further the communications between mother and daughter. The younger woman tried to contain her frustration when nursing home staff members began restricting her interaction. In her attempts to calm herself, my client just assumed that the staff was busy.

By early summer, the daughter finally secured permission to visit with her mom. She was at first shocked at her mother’s apparent mental decline. That said, other issues pointed to the potential of either neglect or abuse.

First, when the mother complained of pain in her tailbone area, my client decided to investigate. She discovered open wounds filled with pus, which were blistery, swollen, and warm. My client contained her outrage as she realized her mom was suffering from bedsores.

Resisting the temptation to confront the medical assistant first, the daughter asked her mother some questions. To her horror, she learned her mom spent most days in bed and saw no one.

Without question, bedsores often indicate some type of neglect in a long-term care facility. Unfortunately, there’s more.

Nursing Home Abuse: More Than Bed Sores

Bedsores represent just one aspect of possible neglect when leaving a loved one in a nursing home. Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect go even further. Here are some things to look for:

  • Unexplained bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Sexual assault
  • Unclean or unsanitary conditions
  • Lethargy caused from overmedication
  • Untreated illnesses
  • Bite marks
  • Fear of particular staff members
  • Unexplained death

While your initial reaction may be to dismiss all of some of these symptoms, you may want to reconsider. If your loved one faces mistreatment, you want to ensure their safety and health receive proper care.

We Can Help

At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo, we share in your concerns. Nursing home abuse or neglect ranks high in the world of injustice. There is no cost for us to represent you unless we secure damages on your behalf. Give Dan T. Matrafajlo a call to discuss the issues you feel need attention. And all consultations are FREE.

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