Most people realize that the population of the United States is collectively getting older. Millions of people are encountering the need for nursing home care, and millions more will come to that point in their lives in the near and in the relatively distant future. The nursing home industry fully realizes that this is happening and facilities all over the United States are currently scrambling to meet the demands of the public. As many would guess, this is leading to some serious problems in the treatment and level of care that many nursing home residents are receiving. There are also many associations and groups that are becoming increasingly concerned with many of the statistical realities relating to nursing homes and to nursing home residents in the United States. One such group is the American Association for Justice, which was formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, or the ATLA. The group recently published some numbers regarding the state of nursing home care in the United States, and many of those numbers are nothing short of shocking. Below are five examples of facts provided by the ATLA that should lead to concern from anyone who happens to see them:
- 1.4 million people currently live in nursing homes in the United States. That number is expected to at least double within the next 20 years.
- 20,673 complaints regarding abuse, gross neglect and exploitation were made against nursing homes in the calendar year of 2003.
- Only 1 out of every 14 incidents of elder abuse is actually reported to authorities.
- An estimated 90 percent of nursing homes in the United States have staffing levels that are too low to provide adequate care.
- 3.7 hours of direct nursing care are provided to the average nursing home resident. That falls far below the recommended 4.55 hours.
We are not providing these facts to scare people out of living in nursing homes. The reality of many situations is that these facilities are needed because family members and friends simply do not possess the skills necessary to help older people and those of advanced illness maintain their medication schedules, dress and clean themselves and basically live through the day safely. There are obviously many nursing home living situations that are positive in nature and where people do receive the care that they need and pay for. We are providing these facts to people who may have loved ones either living in nursing homes or who may soon need such a living arrangement. We are doing so in order to help them understand that they need to keep a close eye on such a person and they need to trust their instincts when it comes to acting if they feel that something is wrong. If you feel this way about a loved one, contact the Las Vegas nursing home abuse lawyers at Bernstein & Poisson today to schedule a free initial consultation.