Nursing homes are required by federal law to report any and all allegations of neglect or abuse that are made by residents or family members. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are not living up to their reporting obligations. This makes it difficult for the government to enforce rules designed to ensure patient safety. When a nursing home fails to report possible abuse or neglect, family members and seniors looking for a residential care environment may also be deprived of information they need to make an informed choice.
Every credible accusation of potential abuse and neglect should be investigated. Victims who need help understanding their rights and obtaining compensation for abuse should consult with an Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer for assistance with their case. In many situations, having an attorney is the only way to get justice and to ensure that the negligent nursing home does not do more harm to other vulnerable seniors.
Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse May Be Underreported
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took a close look at whether nursing homes were fulfilling their reporting obligations that exist under federal law. The report was based on a sample of 209 different nursing facilities nationwide and the results were troubling. The data revealed that:
- Just 76 percent of nursing homes had appropriate policies established for complying with federal rules for reporting abuse and neglect.
- Just 61 percent of nursing homes had appropriate documentation demonstrating that they were actually in compliance with federal reporting requirements.
- Just 53 percent of reportable accusations of potential abuse and neglect were actually reported.
This means only around half of all potential instances of abuse of vulnerable seniors are brought to the attention of government officials who could take action to protect nursing home residents.
Unfortunately, even though many cases of abuse are not being brought to the attention of authorities, the reports that are being made show very high rates of abuse and neglect in nursing homes throughout the country.
In 2012, 85 percent of all nursing facilities reported that at least one allegation of abuse or neglect had been made. While 24 percent of the cases involved resident-to-resident abuse, nursing homes may still be at fault for this high-risk behavior because they should have sufficient staff to supervise and protect their residents.
In 40 percent of reported instances of abuse, the allegations were made against a staff member at the nursing home. Nursing homes are responsible for the actions undertaken by on-duty staff members and can be held legally liable if abuse or neglect occurs to residents as a result of an employee's behavior.
Around five million vulnerable seniors may be victimized each and every year by caregivers. Nursing homes clearly need to do a better job to protect those under their care. Victims also need to understand their rights and should get appropriate legal help from an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney.
The Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Van Sant Law, LLC have extensive experience in nursing home abuse cases. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation if you believe you or a loved one is a victim of abuse.