Jeff Pitman and Katherine E. Metzger’s Article on Nursing Home Abuse Featured in NAELA Journal Online
October is Residents’ Rights Month, a great time to learn more about the problem of nursing home abuse and neglect and the law designed to protect residents from abuse and neglect. PKSD partner Jeffrey A. Pitman and attorney Katherine E. Metzger wrote an article about the federal nursing home requirements that has been published in NAELA Journal Online, a publication from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
The article, titled Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect and the Nursing Home Reform Act: An Overview, provides a detailed look at the 1987 federal law, recent changes to it and some of the common issues in nursing home abuse and neglect cases, including:
- Falls – One out of five falls actually causes a serious injury, like a broken bone. In fact, 95 percent of hip fractures are a result of falls. This is why care plans need to explain the amount of assistance residents need with walking and transferring.
- Pressure ulcers – Federal law says residents who are at risk for pressure sores need to be identified. There are many risk factors for these injuries, such as decreased mobility and malnutrition and dehydration.
- Prescription medication errors – Approximately 86,000 medication errors are fatal or life-threatening. This is why facilities need physician’s orders for a medication.
- Dehydration – This can be life-threatening, resulting in organ failure. Unfortunately, the elderly have a decreased sense of thirst, which is why staff members need to ensure residents are getting enough water.
- Wheelchair injuries – Residents can suffer foot, ankle and leg fractures when footrests are not installed on wheelchairs. Staff members also need to keep residents in wheelchairs away from stairs.
The article also explains how widespread the problem of nursing home abuse has become, even as the law and reforms have attempted to address the problem.
Pitman is a member of NAELA and the Nursing Home Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. Metzger represents victims of nursing home abuse and other personal injury situations.
Download a copy of the NAELA article to learn more about the federal requirements for nursing homes and common types of resident abuse and neglect.