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Nursing home abuse happens more than you think

Even though there are many healthy seniors living in California, there are many more who have special medical needs. Some families choose to fulfill those medical needs themselves, but there may come a point when a loved one needs more. In such cases, the only real option is to find a great nursing home. Unfortunately, no matter how perfect a facility might seem, nursing home abuse can happen anywhere.

Nursing home abuse is not uncommon, but it is underreported. Since a lot of people believe that this kind of abuse does not happen often, they might not even realize when it is happening to loved ones. You might have even questioned whether you were overthinking things when confronted with your own parent's abuse.

Watch out for emergency room visits

People of all ages and health conditions end up needing emergency care every day. If your parent is sick or injured, a trip to the emergency room might not seem out of the ordinary. What you probably did not know is that your parent's trip ER visit could have been evidence of abuse.

A report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services analyzed all of the high-risk emergency room claims involving nursing home residents from 2016. It concluded that out of 37,607 claims, for every five ER claims, one is because of abuse. This figure could actually be on the low side. Even though the law requires nursing home facilities to report abuse to CMS or local authorities, a lot of them do not.

Are things getting better?

CMS released a second report on nursing abuse, and things do not look much better. For this report, CMS looked at 34,664 Medicare claims. The results of that review are particularly troubling. From January 2015 to June 2017, 89% of claims were very likely caused by abuse or neglect.

Medicare is available to adults over the age of 65 who also have certain disabilities. Those who qualify for Medicare are already part of an inherently vulnerable population. Since nearly 90% of health care claims are strongly linked to abuse and neglect, it seems clear that nursing home facilities are taking advantage of these disadvantaged adults.

What can I do for my parent?

Realizing that it is time to place a loved one in a nursing home is never easy. You and your family did the very best that you could when choosing the right facility, and you probably believed that the staff would provide great care to your parent. There was no way you could have anticipated what would happen to them.

Doctors, nurses and other staff members are supposed to provide excellent medical support. Nursing home abuse violates what you trusted those professionals to do. You want to do everything that you can to help your parent, including getting him or her medical care, covering bills, and relieving any pain and suffering. It is actually possible to accomplish all those things by filing a legal claim against the nursing home facility. Since proving fault can be hard, you should be sure to get help from an experienced lawyer.

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