The Drs: Abuse Of The Elderly In Nursing Homes
The Doctors shared that an estimated 4 million older Americans are victims of abuse each and every year, and wanted to know more about the shocking reality of elderly abuse in nursing homes. One out of 10 nursing homes had violations causing residents serious injury or placing their lives in jeopardy.
One woman shared that her father told her was in a lot of pain and was feeling more tired. She called the nurses who were on duty, saying she wanted him transferred immediately. The doctor called her back and she was blown away at how rude he was to her, telling her that her father “has been deteriorating for two weeks, so why are you calling now?” She told them she was going to come there and if her father was still there, she would call 911.
A study in 2010 found that 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating older patients.
The Drs: Protecting the Elderly from Abuse
The Doctors welcomed the woman, Janice, and her attorney to the show, as well as legal analyst Areva Martin. Janice shared that the nursing facility agreed to transfer him to the emergency room and it was discovered that he had a perforated bowel that was septic, so he had emergency surgery. He ultimately passed away two weeks later, and she discovered that the nursing facility ordered lab work that showed he had a massive infection three days before he was transferred, but no one paid any attention to it. She said he ended up dying a pretty painful death.
Janice’s lawyer, Dan Gilleon, said unfortunately her father had a doctor who simply didn’t care. He said the doctor had been sued over and over, but that’s not easy to find out. He said the best place to find out is your county court website. Dr Travis Stork said it’s his understanding that a doctor will get sued a number of times, have to shut down his practice, and then will go and “hide” in a nursing home.
Dr Stork said it doesn’t do any good to draw labs and then not follow up on them. That’s the real problem. Dr Drew Ordon said the doctor should be checking the results of the labs within 24 hours.
The Drs: Choosing The Right Nursing Facility
Areva Martin said due diligence is the most important thing, because you need to be as thorough as you possibly can be. She said, “It’s not about what you expect, it’s about what you inspect.” She said you can’t just rely on the facility to provide the kind of care you’re looking for, so you need to find the circle of care.
Dr Drew Ordon said when you’re sizing up the facility, if you show that you care as well, they’re more likely to care. Dr Ordon pointed out that the level of care is more expensive at some places versus others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t find a place with caring people. Dr Rachael Ross said there’s never a correlation between cost and care.
The Drs: Red Flags Of Elderly Abuse
As for the red flags of elderly abuse, Areva Martin said to look for bruises, broken bones, weight loss, or bed sores. But you also need to look for depression, sadness, or even timidness. She said if your loved one gets scared or nervous just by you speaking in a loud tone, it could be a sign that some form of verbal abuse is going on.
It was also suggested that you meet the entire staff, most importantly the doctor, and find out what his background is. Areva said to maintain your own private physician relationship, because they can also tell you if there’s signs to be aware of. Just make sure your loved one is getting the care they deserve.