America’s rapidly growing elderly population is making record headlines when it comes to a severe increase in nursing home abuse. A recent study reported that almost half of nursing home residents report that they had been abused, while nearly all reported some form of neglect either to themselves or that of another.

The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that nursing home neglect contributes to residents falling and causing severe injuries and worse, fatalities. What’s encouraging is that our legal system is finally beginning to take notice. In July of 2013, a jury ordered a nursing home, Trans Healthcare Inc, to pay over 1.2 Billion to the family who had lost their loved one due to over a dozen falls within the facility, which ultimately resulted in death.

Over two-thirds of adults over age 65 will ultimately need to be placed in a 24-hour skilled nursing facility (aka a nursing home). Typically, it’s not until mom falls and breaks her hip, or dad develops pneumonia, that hospital social workers are calling around to find an available nursing home bed. Often times, loved ones are forced to approach this daunting task with only minutes to spare, before their mom or dad is being discharged from the hospital. Presently, over 3.5 million elderly residents live within a nursing home. When it comes time to research the best place for mom or dad, it’s essential to find the best nursing home to reduce the chance of a loved one falling victim to abuse and neglect.

Choosing the Right Nursing Home for Mom or Dad: What You Need to Know

  1. Location. Location. Location. To be your loved one’s best advocate to protect against nursing home abuse, look for a quality nursing home within a few miles from your residence or work. Frequent visits and monitoring will be key to your knowledge of neglect or abuse, since most residents are either unaware or afraid of reporting incidences.
  2. Food is a huge issue. The nursing home’s dining room is the pulse of the facility. How does the food smell? Are residents eating, or leaving most of their food on the plate?
  3. Listen to nursing home sounds. Do you hear nursing home residents moaning and groaning down the hall? This is a sign of probable neglect or abuse.
  4. Take a good sniff around. Nursing home residents are understandably prone to put off certain unavoidable odors, simply due to their diet and medications. However, if you are instantaneously aware of the obvious reek of urine, this is another clear sign of possible neglect.
  5. Staff fatigue. Get to know the nursing home staff in a friendly manner. Find out if they are working over-time, double shifts, and lacking in required breaks. When nursing home facilities are under-staffed, residents are prone to abuse and neglect.

If you suspect that a loved one is suffering nursing home neglect or abuse, immediate legal assistance is necessary! Contact Florida nursing home abuse lawyer David Benenfeld, is dedicated to helping victims of abuse.