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Abuse in nursing homes has devastating effects

When Connecticut residents hear stories of elderly individuals being abused in nursing homes, they likely agree that it is heartbreaking. There is outrage over mistreatment, health violations, and neglect. For years the government has worked to enact reforms as well as supervise what happens in nursing homes.

The fact that stories of nursing home abuse are commonplace in the news leads many to see this as a pattern as opposed to isolated cases. The Inspector General of the United States has shown that more than 33 percent of nursing home residents are harmed in one way or another while they are in the care of facilities that receive federal funds. In more than 50 percent of the cases, the harm could have been prevented.

Some patients face severe dehydration. Others are forced to endure high levels of pain. In a number of cases, when the neglect is finally revealed, it has been going on for some time. Why this disturbs many is because nursing home residents are vulnerable. The abuse and neglect they experience has the potential to have life-threatening consequences. When a nursing home is understaffed, when the staff is undertrained, and when there is insufficient supervision, nursing home residents could find themselves exploited in ways that are both unimaginable and cruel.

Some have recommended that nursing homes be given access to the National Practitioner Data Bank. This would give them the ability to sort out potentially dangerous staff members who have moved from another state and are able to get a job in a nursing facility because their past questionable actions do not show up on background checks or databases since these are not always linked from state to state.

Personal injury attorneys may be able to help individuals who are victims of medical malpractice, including in nursing homes. They might be able to sit with their clients, evaluate the evidence with them, and then help them see whether or not there is sufficient evidence to warrant a civil case. The personal injury attorney may be able to use that evidence when negotiating with the negligent party with the goal of getting compensation for their client.

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