Nursing Home Abuse goes Ignored by Owners and Officials. Around 1.4 million individuals are living in nursing homes in the United States. Many of these people suffer from forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease or have other physical or mental impairments. The population of people living in these facilities is especially vulnerable, and often dependent on caregivers for assistance with essential daily activities such as bathing and using the bathroom. Sadly, the people tasked with caring for these seniors are abusing them at an alarmingly high rate. Nearly one in ten elderly people will experience abuse, and over 2 million cases of elder abuse are reported annually. The numbers are likely much higher because many instances of abuse go unreported. The victims of abuse are sometimes unable to speak or suffer from memory loss that makes reporting the crimes impossible.
Who is responsible?
When cases of physical or sexual abuse, or of neglect, are exposed, the abuser is not the only person who is legally liable. In many cases, the facility has not taken the necessary actions to prevent abuse, and in some instances, officials have taken steps to hide or cover up cases of abuse rather than reporting them. Officials might have failed to perform background checks on employees and hired people with known histories of abuse, or they might ignore complaints by residents and family members. The nursing home officials might not have properly trained staff members or monitored their activities and behaviors. The facility might lack also lack adequate security, opening the door for abusers to act without feeling that they are likely to face punishment. When a facility has not met their duty of care to the patients, they can be held legally liable for harm caused to those in their charge.
Officials who have pleaded guilty to abuse charges
After reports of abuse and neglect at a Mohawk Valley Health Care Center, the officials and owners of the facility pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and attempting to cover up instances of abuse and neglect that occurred in the facility they oversaw. Nicolle Wagner-Stinson, the facility’s former Director of Nursing, admitted hiding medical records that held evidence of neglect and entered a guilty plea. Another administrator admitted to eavesdropping on the interview of an employee regarding a suspected case of Medicaid fraud. The facility’s co-owner, Justin Wood, entered a guilty plea on a charge of conspiracy in the fifth degree.
The willingness of officials at Mohawk Valley Health Care Center to cover up acts of abuse is part of a much more widespread problem and makes preventing abuse at nursing homes all the more challenging. According to a CNN report, over 1000 nursing homes have received citations after “mishandling suspected cases of sex abuse.” The report details some extremely disturbing stories of sexual abuse, which seem to be all too common. Of course, many nursing home residents are also victims of other forms of abuse, such as physical abuse and financial abuse.
Free Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Consultation
It is important for victims of nursing home abuse and their families to know that there are ways to fight back against the wrongful actions taken by caregivers and nursing home employees. At Parker Waichman LLP we understand that these cases are personal, emotional and difficult for our clients, and we are ready to advocate on their behalf. Contact us today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.