If you place a loved one into a nursing home, you expect that they will receive all the care that they need. What you could never expect is that they would be subject to neglect, mistreatment or abuse.
Unfortunately, nursing homes in California have not been monitored as closely as they should have been, according to a federal watchdog report from 2021. In this report, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General looked at around 36 nursing home neglect or abuse incidents in 2017. Across those cases, it was found that around 20% of allegations hadn’t been reported to the California Department of Public Health or were reported later than they should have been.
An increased risk of nursing home abuse and neglect
When health care professionals and caregivers don’t report that abuse or neglect has occurred or fail to act on allegations of abuse or neglect, they’re putting their patients in harm’s way. Nursing home residents at put at a higher risk of injury and neglect because they may not have any way to speak out about what they’re going through and have no one take action to help them.
The inspector general’s findings may help improve reporting
It’s not clear if the inspector general’s report will make a difference, but it is hoped that it will help force better oversight and consequences on facilities that don’t report abuse or complaints.
What should you do if you think your loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect?
If you believe that your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home, you should talk to the facility and take action to report your concerns. If you don’t see anyone acting on your allegations, then you can call 911 if your loved one is in immediate danger or reach out for legal support to discuss options for moving their location and holding the nursing home staff accountable for their actions.
The vulnerable deserve to have support so that they can live comfortably during old age. A failure to deliver the medical support and care needed should be thoroughly investigated.