Nursing Home Abuse Widely Underreported

March 20, 2020

When you leave your loved one in the care of a nursing home, you may expect that the staff will always take care of them. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. It is estimated that there are as many as 5,000,000 elder abuse and nursing home abuse cases per year.

A recent Inspector General’s Report shows that nursing home abuse is largely unreported. For many decades, advocates have speculated that nursing home abuse is happening more than is known. The report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) confirms their speculation is sadly true.

“The OIG determined roughly 1 in 5 high-risk visits to the emergency room by Medicare beneficiaries (primarily Americans 65 years and older) were potentially the result of abuse or neglect.”

Even though nursing homes are required to report instances of abuse according to federal law, many fail to report. Additionally, many Survey Agencies (state-level health inspectors) fail to report proven incidents of abuse to local law enforcement. The OIG also found a break-down in reporting requirements and law enforcement referrals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for situations of potential abuse or neglect.

Without this tracking and without the reports to law enforcement, the data is skewed in favor of the nursing home.

Nursing Homes Not Reporting Abuse

The OIG report shows that nursing home abuse is widely underreported and mishandled. Nursing homes have failed to comply with CMS regulations for reporting abuse to inspectors. This puts vulnerable elders at risk.

Agencies Failing to Respond to Reports of Abuse

According to the report, even when nursing homes report abuse, the applicable protective agencies are dropping the ball. Since there are no requirements for the inspectors to track local law enforcement referrals, the issue appears to be less common or severe than it is.

Holding Nursing Homes Accountable for Abuse

Nursing home abuse can be prevented, but it’s up to everyone to hold the nursing home accountable. This includes staff, family members, law enforcement, and the agencies responsible for keeping residents safe.

Saladino & Schaaf has decades of experience representing Kentuckians in personal injury lawsuits, including elder and nursing home abuse or neglect. If you or a loved one have been injured or otherwise abused while residing at a nursing home, contact us online or at 270-444-0406 (Paducah Office) or 270-753-1592 (Murray Office) to schedule a free consultation today. You may be entitled to significant compensation, but the clock is ticking.




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Nursing Home Abuse is a growing problem.




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