Nursing Home Neglect – a National Epidemic

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Laurie Kash witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of elder neglect. Her mother suffered catastrophic spinal injury at the hands of nurses in a Rochester nursing home who were charged with her care. A once independent 86-year old woman was left paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Kash, like thousands of others across the nation, says her mother’s experiences were not unique – and is advocating for universal nursing home reform to combat issues of institutional neglect and lax oversight by state regulatory agencies.

Kash was inspired to create a documentary project called Last Stop, which chronicles her mother’s journey as a “disabled survivor” of nursing home neglect. The website and advocacy project highlights Kash’s efforts to spread awareness and encourage legislative change.

Urgent need for nursing home reform

At a press conference on Nursing Home Reform held this past February, Kash spoke about her mother’s horrific injustices, claiming that her experiences did not occur in a vacuum.

“There are countless people every day suffering. You read it in the newspapers. Nursing homes are harming people and it needs to stop,” Kash said at the press conference.

The Last Stop website also serves as a portal for stories about others’ experiences with neglect in nursing home facilities. Understaffing, uncompassionate care, indifference and shocking cases of neglect are common themes.

The hope is that government agencies which are charged with overseeing these facilities will start doing a better and more thorough job, thus sparing our most vulnerable citizens various kinds of unspeakable harm.

Signs of neglect in assisted living facilities

Until senior care facilities are forced to comply with higher standards, families who have a loved one in a nursing home must be wary of signs of neglect or abuse.

Common warning signs of nursing home neglect include:

  • Unusual bruises or welts on skin
  • Bedsores
  • Open wounds or infections
  • Poor personal hygiene – diapers not changed often
  • Frequent falls
  • Questionable use of physical restraints
  • Sudden emotional withdrawal
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden decline in health
  • Unusual behavior such as rocking or sucking
  • Staff that discourages impromptu visits
  • Missing personal items

Elder abuse in South Carolina

While estimates vary from state to state, it is generally believed that as many as one in five elderly suffer from some form of neglect or abuse by their caregivers. Sadly, few of these cases are ever reported to authorities. Whether physical, emotional or financial in nature, elder abuse is a crime and should be stopped at all costs.

The Jeffcoat Firm offers compassionate and skilled legal advocacy throughout the Palmetto state. Based in Lexington, our nursing home neglect lawyers offer free case evaluations to families who believe their loved ones are not receiving proper care. To learn more about your legal rights, please call our office at (803) 200-2000 –- we are available 24 hours a day.

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