Elder abuse and abuse in nursing homes is a major problem across the country, and unfortunately right here in Fort Smith. By some estimates, at the broadest level, more than two (2) million cases of elder abuse are reported every year, and almost one (1) out of every ten (10) elderly individuals will experience some form of elder abuse. These numbers and figures are troubling and concerning, particularly in light of other statistics which indicate that nearly 90 percent of all abuse cases go unreported.
If you discover a problem such as elder abuse, negligent care, or other serious problems at your loved one’s nursing home, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at law can fight to hold the responsible parties financially accountable. To discuss you nursing home concerns, calling us at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.
Startling Facts about Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is not something that we want for the loved members of our family. However, the fact that nursing home abuse is pervasive in our system can’t be discredited. By some accounts, there are more than two million cases of elder abuse reported every year. According to a report published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there were an estimated 90 million Americans over the age of 65 who were in long-term care facilities such as a nursing home. A More recent report also shed light on the prevalence of nursing home abuse in our country where eighty-five percent (85%) of nursing homes reported at least one incidence of abuse in 2012.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home takes many different forms and can be financial, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. When we trust the most loved and respected members of our families to the care of a long-term care facility we don’t expect there to be any abuse, however, all too often the centers we trust our families to abuse and injure our family members. Some of the signs of elder abuse can include:
- Broken bones or fractures
- Bed sores
- Frequent infections
- Signs of dehydration
- Mood swings and emotional outbursts
- Reclusiveness or refusal to speak
- Unexplained weight loss
- Poor physical appearance or lack of cleanliness
- Changes in mental status
However, physical abuse is not the only type of abuse that family members should be aware of. Financial exploitation is a growing problem in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Family members should be keen to look for signs and evidence of nursing home abuse. reports have indicated that seniors who are the victims of nursing home abuse are nearly 300 percent more likely to die than those who are not subjected to abusive care.
Arkansas Laws Preventing Elder Abuse
The pervasiveness of elder abuse has become such a problem that in 2010, President Obama signed into law federal legislation known as the Elder Justice Act, as the first comprehensive and expansive piece of federal legislation designed to address elder abuse. The Elder Justice Act:
- Establishes national leadership in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the form of an Elder Justice Coordinating Counsel and an Advisory Board.
- Authorizes grants to support improvements to Adult Protective Services and Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs, and state survey agencies for Medicare- and Medicaid-certified long-term care facilities.
- Authorizes grants for the training for APS, Ombudsman, federal and state surveyors of nursing facilities.
- Authorizes grants for forensic centers to develop expertise on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
- Enhances long-term care staffing, data exchange in facilities, mandatory reporting of crimes against residents in federally-funded facilities, promulgation of guidelines to assist researchers, and authorizes a study on a national nurse aide registry.
In addition to this piece of federal legislation, Arkansas Code 12-12-1701-1721 Adult, and Long Term Care Facility Resident Mistreatment Act, provides a system for reporting known or suspected adult and long-term care facility resident maltreatment. Ensures the screening, safety assessment, and prompt investigation of reports of known or suspected adult and long-term care facility resident maltreatment. Provides for a civil action to protect maltreated adults and long-term care facility residents.
These laws are only some of the laws that have been enacted by both the Federal government as well as Arkansas in an effort to address and hopefully prevent elder abuse. However, while these laws are in place, there are continuous reports of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Let an Arkansas Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Fight for You
If you believe your loved one has been abused or is at risk of abuse, contact Ken Kieklak immediately. We are highly experienced in negotiating and litigating nursing home abuse cases and will advocate for you and your loved ones to better your chances of receiving appropriate compensation. Ken Kieklak can help you recognize the signs of abuse or neglect, and work to obtain justice and compensation for you and your family. We litigate aggressively for our clients and don’t get paid until you do. To speak privately with a nursing home negligence attorney, call our law offices at (479) 316-0438, or contact us online.