What Often Lies Behind Nursing Home Abuse

Author: Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP

Nursing Home Abuse:Neglect

A 2011 study conducted by the New York Office for the Aging and Cornell University estimated that nursing home abuse rates were 24 times higher than what was reported to authorities. The study revealed that in 2011, approximately 260,000 New York residents over the age of 65 suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect ― whether physical, emotional or financial. Even with this study, because of a lack of gathering information and no uniform reporting methods, the actual extent of nursing home abuse is still uncertain.

Staffing problems

According to The Post-Star, understaffing is a common factor underlying nursing home abuse. New York has no law that regulates the number of residents for one nurse or aide to handle. Generally, patients with more serious conditions receive the most attention.

Recently, a case involving nursing home abuse resulted in authorities charging a 38-year old licensed practical nurse named Tiffany Vanalen. An investigation revealed that she falsified records by indicating she had given residents medications when she had not. While she had more than 10 years experience working in elder care, her situation at Pleasant Valley ― the nursing home where she was employed ― was partly to blame. During the previous year, the Department of Health discovered that Pleasant Valley had medication mix-ups where wrong patients received drugs. Subsequently, a number of staff left the nursing home and it was short-handed. An ombudsman for the Warren Count Office for the Aging explained that workers often end up in charge of a whole wing by themselves or working double shifts because another worker fails to come to work. The Post-Star article reported that non-profit nursing homes typically have fewer health violations and less instances of nursing home neglect than for-profit nursing homes.

If you notice your loved one suffering from symptoms of nursing home abuse, arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck. We can look into the matter for you and determine the prospects of pursuing a case.