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Betrayal of Trust: Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Connecticut.

Few people, if anyone, relish the prospect of moving a loved one into a nursing home or assisted living facility. The decision and the process can be emotional and difficult. But as the number of seniors in America continues to grow as Baby Boomers hit retirement age and beyond, more and more families are going through the challenges of making sure their loved ones will be well cared for in their twilight years.

When families ultimately find a place where they believe their loved one will be the most comfortable and will receive the attention they need, they are putting their trust in people who they rightfully expect will provide competent and compassionate care.

Sometimes, however, that trust is betrayed. When this happens, our loved ones suffer the pain, injuries, and indignity that come from abuse, negligence, neglect, and indifference.  Families are left with worry, anger, guilt and worse.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect is Tragically Common In Connecticut

As recently reported in the Hartford Courant, Three Connecticut nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health in connection with incidents in which residents broke a leg, developed pressure sores or were injured during a fall.

We have a right to expect these facilities to provide our loved ones with comfort, safety, and superior medical care. Nursing home neglect is not unique in Connecticut. Unfortunately, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, nursing homes fail to meet their responsibilities with stunning regularity. Consider these statistics:

  • During a two year stretch, nearly 1 in 3 U.S. nursing homes were cited for violations of federal standards that had potential to cause harm or that had caused actual harm to a resident and nearly 1 out of 10 homes had violations that caused residents harm, serious injury, or placed them in jeopardy of death.
  • In a study of 2,000 interviews of nursing home residents, 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.
  • Over 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating (e.g. physical violence, mental abuse, neglect) older patients within the prior year in one study. Two thirds of those incidents involved neglect.

The dark reality of the nursing home business is they are for-profit organizations owned and operated by people all too often solely focused on the bottom line.

Many nursing homes are poorly staffed or understaffed. In many cases, caregivers lack adequate training; in others, nursing homes fail to properly screen candidates to ensure they possess the medical knowledge and personal temperament required to care for the elderly. Criminal background checks on the hired staff is too often ignored.

Seniors and their families almost always spend a great deal of time researching and evaluating a nursing home or facility and its personnel before making the decision to entrust them with the senior’s care. Nevertheless, that diligence may not reveal many of the problems that can wind up causing grievous harm to the facility’s residents such as:

  • Poor staffing
  • Understaffing
  • Poor facility maintenance and unsanitary conditions
  • Lack of adequate training and education
  • Failure to properly screen candidates for proper medical knowledge and personal temperament

There are a number of acts and omissions that put nursing home residents at risk and cause them serious injury. These can form the basis of claims for damages against the home or facility. These include:

  • Wrongful death
  • Bedsores
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Falls and drops
  • Dehydration
  • Medication mistakes
  • Malnutrition
  • Financial misconduct and theft
  • Inadequate care for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Resources and Claims Against Connecticut Nursing Homes and Their Employees

The state of Connecticut provides numerous resources for families and residents who have suffered abuse, neglect, and mistreatment in a nursing home or assisted living facility.  Victims can report cases of abuse and neglect to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Additionally, the state’s Department of Aging operates the Connecticut Long Term Care Ombudsman Program which was established to protect and promote the rights and quality of life for residents of skilled nursing facilities, residential care homes and assisted living facilities.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your claim, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against several individuals and entities, including the facility, its employees, or its owner.

Nugent & Bryant: Protecting Connecticut Seniors and Their Families

The Connecticut law firm of Nugent & Bryant has experience representing individuals and families who have suffered the pain, trauma, and indignity of nursing home abuse and neglect. We zealously pursue compensation for the victims of nursing home or assisted living misconduct and negligence, and work with families to ensure that their loved ones are treated with the respect, dignity, and care they deserve. Call Nugent & Bryant today at (203) 795-1111 for a free consultation.