New York gets an F for nursing home care

As of 2013, more than 1.5 million people live in nursing homes across the country, and according to CBS News, that number is expected to grow by 40 percent within the next 10 years. With a shortage of qualified and competent nursing home aides and medical professionals to tend to the nursing home facilities in New York, many people are wondering what the future may bring. For some states, including New York, the task of providing quality nursing home care has become difficult. In fact, New York was given an F in the first state-by-state comprehensive nursing home review. Nursing home abuse and neglect is a major issue facing the entire country.

Grading the states

It is hard for many people to comprehend how someone could mistreat a defenseless elderly person. Sadly, it happens all too often in New York. A 2012 review by a nonprofit elder advocacy group gave each state in the nation a grade based on the quality of nursing home care they provided to their residents. The results were based on a review of federal data including nursing home inspections, staffing reports and complaints. New York and several other states including Texas, Illinois, New Mexico and Louisiana, all received failing grades.

Another report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that 85 percent of all nursing homes in the country reported at least one allegation of neglect or abuse in 2012, and an estimated 60,000 allegations were filed nationwide that year. The actual number of cases is expected to be much higher as countless incidents of elder abuse and neglect go unreported each year.

Types of elder abuse

According to the American Psychological Association, elder abuse consists of more than physical abuse, which may involve burns, bedsores and broken bones. Other forms of abuse include:

  • Emotional abuse: causing distress, depression, anxiety or emotional pain through the use of harsh words or non-verbal actions.
  • Medication errors: residents who aren't receiving their proper medication, are getting someone else's medication or are receiving too much medication may become extremely ill or die as a result of the error.
  • Abandonment: deserting an elderly person and leaving them with no care.
  • Sexual abuse: taking advantage of an elderly person in a sexual manner.
  • Neglect: failing to provide an elderly person with basic necessities such as medical care, food, water and clothes. This may lead to dehydration, malnutrition and bedsores.

In order to reduce the number of incidents involving neglect at a nursing home, some states are allowing residents to keep cameras in their rooms, according to the Fiscal Times. Some families who have had suspicions that their loved ones were being abused have already installed secret cameras in their rooms, and some have caught horrible accounts of abuse. New York does not yet have a law regulating the use of nursing home cameras.

Find legal representation

If your loved one has been injured, abused or died as a result of nursing home negligence or abuse, it is crucial that you contact an attorney to help you with your case. Bringing the horrible incident to the attention of the authorities not only gives you peace of mind, but it may protect innocent senior residents from being abused as well.