Reports of serious physical, sexual and verbal abuse are “numerous” among the nation’s nursing homes. As study prepared by the minority staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, found that 30% of nursing homes in the United States were cited for almost instances of abuse over a two-year period. Common problems included untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene. Of the common problems cited, many of the abuse violations caused harm the elderly residents.
In fact, many of the abuse violations were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury.
Instances of abuse appear to be on the rise. The percentage of nursing homes cited for violations has increased every year since 1996, according to the report. Nursing home industry representatives attribute problems, in part, to a nationwide difficulty in attracting and keeping quality, skilled staff.
In addition to attracting and retaining a skilled staff, other suggested standards included measures for preventing pressure or bed sores, providing sanitary living conditions, and protecting residents from accidents.