NEW YORK – You may be thinking about a nursing home for a loved one, possibly yourself and the options may seem endless. Many nursing homes are highly rated and have outstanding reviews from patients and their families but there are many other nursing facilities with health and safety violations, among other problems.
In 2008, a Brooklyn nursing home was kept so cold during the winter that one of its patients froze to death inside an apartment. The patient’s family claimed they were blocked from visiting for the eight months the man lived at the Park Slope facility, which has since been the subject of several lawsuits.
The nursing home agreed to pay the deceased patient’s family $750,000 in a settlement.
“Since assisted living facilities are not only abusive to patients but some may be operating without a license in Brooklyn,” wrongful death attorney Steve Barnes said. “We’re urging everyone to research nursing homes before enrolling a loved one at one of these facilities.”
One study suggests elders are abused at one in every three nursing homes but this may even be a conservative estimate.
Barnes says while there are several warning signs that a nursing home is abusive or neglectful, many more warning signs may be overlooked by medical professionals due to a lack of training on abuse recognition.
“Many employees at nursing homes have openly admitted that some of these facilities are understaffed and undertrained,” Barnes said. “This can lead to an unsafe workplace setting and expose patients to negligence and abuse.”
The problem is so prevalent among nursing homes that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended new federal standards to guarantee patients a minimum of two hours of care each day. The federal study claims more than half of all long-term care facilities currently fail to meet that requirement.
Brooklyn wrongful attorneys say they are disturbed by the growing trend of nursing home abuse. Lawyers say if you believe a nursing home is abusive or neglectful to a family member or another patient, contact your state’s department of health and speak with an attorney to force the issue and create a safe environment for all patients requiring assisted care.