Growing Demand for Nursing Home Services Leads to Greater Scrutiny of Abuse
According to the last available and complete U.S. Census, approximately 1,600,000 Americans are nursing home residents. They comprise roughly 10% of the population over the age of 75. The National Nursing Home Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 90% of current residents are age 65 or older, 72% are female, and 57% are widowed. Nearly half of all nursing home residents are admitted from a hospital. The Government Accounting Office estimates that more than 43% of all American over the age of 65 will reside in a nursing home sometime in their lives.
In a study performed by the Harvard University of Public Health, 12,933 nursing home negligence claims nationwide were analyzed. They found that half of all nursing home claims involved wrongful death or pressure sores/ulcers or both; smaller proportions alleged dehydration/weight loss, improper use of restraints, and falls. Surprisingly, they found that the average recovery on paid claims, whether resolved in or out of court, was approximately $406,000, nearly twice the level of a typical medical malpractice claim.
Another study concluded that investor-owned for-profit nursing homes “provide worse care and less nursing care than non-profit or public homes.” In evaluating quality of care deficiencies in 13,693 facilities, they found that investor-owned nursing homes averaged 5.89 deficiencies; 46.5% higher than non-profit and 43.0% higher than public facilities. Interest in nursing home care grew strongly in the 1990s, after a slew of shocking cases of abuse and neglect drew attention from the media. As a consequence, public opinion concerning nursing home care has come under greater scrutiny simultaneously with a growing demand for nursing home services by an increasingly older population.
If you suspect that a loved one has suffered harm as a result of nursing home abuse, please contact one of our experienced attorneys to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.