Laws on the Books Concerning Nursing Home Abuse in Tennessee & Nursing Home Abuse Statistics in NC

by Nick Johnson - Date: 2007-04-05 - Word Count: 836 Share This!

1.6 million families in Tennessee and around the United States turn to nursing homes to care for their elderly loved ones. The number is expected to rise to 5 million over the next thirty years, as the baby boomer population ages. While families chose nursing care with an expectation of professionalism, kindness and compassion, there is a dark side to nursing homes: neglect and abuse.

Abuse violations include physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as neglect. According to a 2001 Congressional Report, one in three U.S. nursing homes have been cited for abuse. These types of violations are especially insidious since elderly and disabled residents are unable to protect themselves from an attack. In many cases, they are not even able to communicate the abuse they have suffered to their family members, and hence they have neither recourse against nor protection from future abuse.

What is being done to protect Tennessee residents from falling victim to this kind of abuse? First, there are a number of laws on the books in Tennessee. For example, all staff must pass a criminal background check and all nursing homes are subject to annual or more frequent inspections by the department of health. Furthermore, Tennesseans are protected by national nursing home laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Nursing Home Reform Act.

These two laws mandate, among other things, that patients must be given freedom and must receive respect for their persons, and their personal property and possessions.

If you suspect that you or a family member has been the victim of abuse or neglect, you can report the incident via state agencies such as the Tennessee Department of Health. The health department has licensing oversight for nursing homes and can revoke a home's license if it is found to be in severe violation of state and national law.

In addition to reporting the incident to the state agency, you should also contact a local lawyer experienced with cases of nursing home abuse and neglect in Tennessee. Your Tennessee nursing home abuse lawyer will work with you on filing your claim with the state authorities, will advise you on the variety of legal issues, and will advocate for you as you seek monetary compensation for the neglect and abuse you or your loved one experienced.

Families in North Carolina and around the country turn to nursing homes to provide care and attention to their elderly loved ones. But all too often families' expectation for professionalism, kindness and compassion is replaced with a shocking reality: abuse.

Abuse violations are a serious concern in nursing homes across the United States, and North Carolina facilities are no exception. These types of violations are particularly grievous since elderly and disabled residents are unable to protect themselves from an attack. In many cases, they are not even able to communicate the abuse they have suffered to their family members, and hence have neither recourse nor protection from future abuse.

According to a 2001 Congressional report, more than 9,000 nursing home abuse reports were filed in the two-year period between January 1999 and January 2001. Of these 9,000 reports, more than 2,500 were severe enough to place residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury. Reported types of abuse include sexual, physical and verbal.

Nursing home neglect is another significant area of abuse, and can range from failure to provide medications according to the doctor-prescribed schedule to withholding food and even water from patients. Dehydration and death have occurred as a result of this type of neglect.

Also according to the Congressional report, which was spearheaded by Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), the number of nursing homes that is cited for abuse is increasing, and has been every year since 1996. For example, the number of nursing homes cited for abuse during annual inspections more than doubled between 1996 and 2000.

While these national statistics are appalling, of even greater concern are the incidents of unreported abuse. In fact, officials believe that abuse is grossly underreported; some experts even say that the majority of abuse incidents go unreported. At particular risk are nursing home patients without the mental or physical faculties to be aware of -- or even to articulate -- the abuse they are suffering at the hands of their supposed caregivers.

Nationwide, one-third of the U.S.'s 1,600 nursing homes were cited for an abuse violation that had the potential to cause harm or death. This heart-wrenching statistic has devastating consequences for a state like North Carolina, which has over 37,000 of its residents living in nursing homes, according to a census conducted in 2002.

The reality is grim for North Carolina seniors, since one out of every three residents over the age of eighty-five lives in a nursing home. Given the national rates of nursing home abuse, North Carolinians are undoubtedly at risk. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact a qualified attorney. Your lawyer can help you to get the compensation you deserve for your mistreatment, abuse and neglect.

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Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Nursing Home Abuse. Call 1-888-311-5522 today or visit for a free case evaluation.

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