Indiana's Long Term Care Is Worst in the Nation
- Although the thought of it is highly disturbing, abuse and neglect of the vulnerable elderly in nursing homes occurs all too frequently. In addition, a rise in involuntary discharges or wrongful evictions of residents has been noticed across the country.
- In Indiana, these remain huge problems. Indiana’s long-term care is ranked as worst in the nation by AARP because of understaffing, high eviction ratings, inadequate training, over-worked employees and/or overall negligent care.
- Most victims are abused or neglected emotionally, physically, or financially.
- If you believe abuse and neglect are occurring at your loved one’s nursing home facility, document everything and notify the facility management. If necessary, remove your loved one immediately, get a lawyer, and report any wrongdoing to authorities.
Nursing Home Victims Are Too Often Abused, Neglected and Evicted
We have mentioned it before and not because we are proud of it. Indiana’s long-term care is ranked as worst in the nation by AARP mostly due to understaffing, inadequate training, over-worked and under-paid employees, high eviction numbers, and overall negligent care. For those of us with elderly loved ones placed in nursing homes, it’s time for a check-in with them to evaluate if they are still receiving the best care possible and ensure they are healthy, safe, and happy.
As a reminder, we have included our list of the common nursing home abuse and neglect signs to look for in this post. The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Wagner Reese have also pulled together some information provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to assist anyone who may be helping a family member who was involuntarily discharged from a nursing home and suffered because of it.
Know the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Because elder abuse and neglect can take many forms, it’s important for family members to know how to recognize the signs in residents who have been abused or neglected emotionally, physically, or financially. Sadly, physical abuse is still a major issue that can occur at a nursing home or long-term care facility and can be as extreme as assault and battery. This type of abuse most often includes forced physical restraints, or include the administration of pharmaceutical drugs not authorized by a doctor.
Emotional abuse and neglect also occurs in the form of insults, humiliation, threats, and attempts to frighten the resident. Residents can also be ignored, disregarded, malnourished, under or over medicated, and isolated against their will. Neglect occurrences also happen when staff have failed to change bedding or take care of hygiene or medical equipment needs.
Abuse and neglect signs to look for include:
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- open wounds, bed sores or cuts
- burns and abrasions
- sudden and unexplained change in weight
- soiling, poor hygiene, smell of urine or feces
- loss of hair
- torn, stained, or bloody clothing or bedding
Less obvious signs may be:
- listlessness or unresponsiveness
- infantile or other strange behaviors
- physical or emotional withdrawal
- disappearance of personal items
- sudden and unusual financial transactions
There may be red flags if you arrive at a facility to visit a loved one and the staff refuses or delays access or doesn’t leave the room during your visit. Regard this as a sign that something may be wrong. Or if your loved one is presenting emotions out of sorts and doesn’t want you to leave, begin by listening and then asking questions and raising concerns with administrators.
Involuntary Discharge Has Become the Norm
If you find out that the long-term care facility responsible for your family member’s care will be transferring your loved one or discharging them, it should not come as a surprise but is likely to. Nationwide, eviction is the leading complaint about nursing homes and in Indiana involuntary discharge of residents or ‘patient dumping’ is quickly becoming a wildly unsafe yet everyday practice of nursing homes. One of the biggest reasons for the high eviction rates is that the residents’ better-paying Medicare coverage is ending and will soon be replaced by Medicaid.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has an outlined a list of rules and regulation for discharging a resident but many residents and their families remain unaware of their rights. Here are the valid conditions for resident discharge:
- The facility cannot meet the resident’s needs
- The resident no longer needs nursing facility services
- The resident’s presence endangers the safety of others in the facility
- The resident’s presence endangers the health of others in the facility
- The resident has failed to pay
- The facility is closing
Facilities which receive Medicare or Medicaid must give 30 days’ notice and all others 21 days’ notice. The notice requires the facility leaders to discuss plans of an eviction and must:
- Notify the resident and, “if known, an immediate family member of the resident or legal representative.”
- Be written in a language that resident and/or representative will understand.
The facility must also provide sufficient preparation to residents to ensure safe and orderly transfer and have a post-discharge plan of care that was developed with the participation of the resident and his or her family to assist the resident in adjusting to his or her new living environment.
If you sense abuse and neglect are occurring or your loved one has been forward in telling you, document everything with notes, photographs, and video and always notify the facility management and demand action. If necessary, remove your loved one, contact an attorney, and report any wrongdoing to authorities.
While there are several top care providers throughout the state, our experience has proven there are more mediocre or downright scary facilities out there. It will be up to you to keep them accountable and ensure your loved ones are taken care of.
Wagner Reese – Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
It may be extremely difficult to think of your elderly or disabled loved ones not being properly cared for, but it does happen. And, in the worst cases it can end with fatal consequences. If a loved one is showing signs of abuse and neglect, complains about the care being received in a nursing home, appears altered, or if you fear they have been mistreated, or been wrongfully discharged, Wagner Reese can fight for justice in their situation.
The last thing we want to think about is seeing our loved ones suffer, but you can help protect others from the same fate. Connect with us by submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information and respond promptly. If you wish to speak directly with us, please call (888) 204-8440 for a risk-free consultation.