If you are considering using a nursing facility for a loved one, you are not alone. Over 1.6 million people are residents in nursing homes. We expect these facilities to provide a caring environment for our loved ones. Although many do, a surprising number are not only failing to meet this expectation but are cited for incidents of abuse.

How big of a deal is nursing home abuse? Unfortunately, nursing home abuse may be more common than you think. A recent report by ABC News discussed the issue, focusing on a study that dug into nursing home abuse. The study was prepared by the Democratic and Independent staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee.

Ultimately, the study found that almost 1 in 3 nursing homes were cited for instances of abuse in the time period under review. This translates to 5,283 facilities facing citations in only a couple of years.

Pennsylvania was highlighted in the piece, with a separate report by the same group finding over 70 percent of 59 homes in one congressional district of the state “failed to meet federal health and safety standards during recent state inspections.” These failures were serious enough to result in actual harm or potentially even lead to the death of residents.

What type of abuse occurs in nursing homes? Various issues resulted in citations. Some examples include:

  • Neglect. The presence of bedsores that remain untreated is often a sign of potential neglect within a facility.
  • Malnutrition and dehydration. A failure to provide residents with basic nutrition and hydration was also a common issue.
  • Physical or sexual abuse. There were also accusations of nursing home staff committing physical or sexual abuse towards residents.

These are just a few examples. Additional types of abuse, including financial exploitation and inadequate medical care were also noted.

How can I find a good nursing home for a loved one? There are a few pointers from the ABC News piece to help those who are looking for a nursing care facility. One of the more helpful involved getting referrals from physicians and trusted friends.

What if I believe my loved one is the victim of abuse? If you notice unexplained bruises or lacerations, a change in behavior or mood of your loved one or are otherwise concerned that this person may be the victim of nursing home abuse you can hold the abusers responsible for their actions. Contact an experience nursing home negligence or abuse attorney to discuss your options.