Care or Cruelty: Statistics on Abuse in U.S. Nursing Homes

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As the cycle of life comes full circle and elderly people in Kentucky end up needing intensive, tender loving care—just as they did when they were babies—many of our loved ones are subjected to various forms of abuse in nursing homes.

The problems faced by nursing home administrators include insufficient funding, frequent employee turnover, inflation, and cost overruns. Additionally, nursing homes are subject to regulation by state agencies and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and compliance is costly. Nursing home residents are generally elderly with rapidly failing health and often also have dementia or other forms of mental disability or disease. Family members are facing the impending loss of a loved one.

Unfortunately, the inherently stressful environment of nursing homes often results in abuse of the residents by staff. Although nursing home abuse usually takes place in the form of neglect, willful abuse is also frequent.

What follows are some disturbing statistics on abuse in nursing homes across the United States, as related by

  • One in three U.S. nursing homes has been cited for nursing home abuse and related infractions.
  • About 11 percent of nursing homes have been cited for dispensing unnecessary medication.
  • Approximately 25 percent of nursing home workers who have been prosecuted for abusing residents have previous criminal records; five percent of all nursing home workers have previous criminal records.
  • Between one and two million Americans over the age of 65 have been neglected, mistreated, or abused by their primary caregiver (nursing home, hospital, or homecare worker).
  • Nearly half of all nursing home residents suffer from untreated pain.
  • In 1999, about 5,000 death certificates for nursing home residents listed bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, or starvation as the cause of death.
  • According to news reports, about 90 percent of U.S. nursing homes are understaffed. Staff shortages “almost inevitably” lead to some degree of negligence and often to willful abuse.
  • The National Center on Elder Abuse avers that more than 80 percent of abuse cases are never reported.
  • Of the abuse cases that are reported, 20 percent involve emotional abuse, 16 percent involve physical abuse, three percent involve sexual abuse, and 12 percent involve caretaker neglect.
  • Thirty-six percent of emergency room visits by nursing home residents are injuries from falls, which is easily the most preventable kind of injury.
  • A survey taken in 2004 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that eight percent of U.S. nursing home residents went to a nearby hospital emergency room during the three-month survey period. Of these visits, about 40 percent of these injuries could have been prevented.

Has Your Loved One Been Injured In A Nursing Home?

If you believe your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse you need to speak with an experienced Kentucky nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.450.4456 to schedule a free consultation.