Nursing Home Abuse
It's no secret that the population of Arkansas is aging. In 2016, 92% of the counties in Arkansas had seen their median age increase. In fact, the majority of residents in three Arkansas counties (Baxter, Marion, and Montgomery) are at least 50-years-old or older. But the people that make up these figures aren't just numbers in a spreadsheet. They are our loved ones, and how we take care of those people says a lot about us. An estimated 76% of our seniors want to age in place (according to an AARP study). However, that just isn't a feasible future for everyone. Whether health concerns, physical infirmity, or financial instability make the move mandatory, an estimated 7% of the entire population will end up in a nursing home in Arkansas or an assisted living facility. And when that happens, it becomes our responsibility to protect our family and loved ones from nursing home abuse in Arkansas.Shocking Cases Shine Light on a Pattern of Nursing Home Abuse in Arkansas
It's not something we like to think about, but in the last 10 years or so several high-profile and sometimes tragic cases of nursing home neglect and abuse have really opened our eyes to the state of things in Arkansas' senior care facilities. And while many people are quick to blame lack of government oversight in privately-owned and operated nursing homes, even state-run eldercare housing has come under fire for very serious—potentially fatal—deficiencies.
- In 2013, family members of a resident at a Bentonville, Arkansas nursing home (that was at the time facing more than a dozen open violations) alleged that staff at the home actively neglected their loved one and "starved" the individual to the point where she only weighed 54 pounds.
- In 2014, an El Dorado, Arkansas nursing home cited for multiple instances of abuse by the federal Department of Health & Human services stemming from an investigation into unsafe conditions that placed residents in imminent danger of bodily harm and ended with an individual falling and suffering a serious head injury.
- In 2016, a lawsuit filed by the surviving family members of a Little Rock nursing home resident alleged that a clear and distinct pattern of neglect directly contributed to a woman's untimely death. The lawsuit claimed that administrators and staff at the home did not adequately address the victim's fall risk and were therefore liable when she later died.
- In 2019, a state-run nursing home for veterans in Little Rock was cited for multiple violations including the most severe level of threat which could result in the state paying nearly $100,000 in fines. In addition, an investigation revealed that a nurse was allowed to continue working at the facility even after supervisors had determined she verbally abused at least one resident. That same nurse was later accused of physical abuse as well.
Families and adults with elderly parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the quality of care in nursing homes. Federal law requires those nursing homes' activities and services provided to residents for their physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being be of the highest quality that can be put into practice. However, studies by the U.S. General Accounting Office (and others from private agencies) clearly indicate that many nursing homes in Arkansas fail to meet those very basic federal guidelines.
The nursing homes in Arkansas serve over 18,000 residents every year, yet a recent government report found that over 90% of the 245 nursing homes in Arkansas that accept Medicaid or Medicare were in violation of federal health standards. More than 30% of the nursing homes were in violation as a result of residents being harmed or at risk of serious injury or death.
Sadly, only 13 nursing homes in Arkansas were found by the state inspectors to be in full or substantial compliance with federal health requirements.Understaffing, Poor Training, and Neglect in Arkansas Nursing Homes Create Health Hazards
Poor patient care in long-term care facilities here in Arkansas has already resulted in injury to residents. The most common injuries include:
- Pressure ulcers (also known as bedsores and decubitus ulcers)
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Injuries from falls
- Hygiene-related illnesses
- Drug interaction and other medication errors
But's it's not always a low standard of care and accidents that cause injuries to nursing home residents. It's estimated that at least 10% (or one-in-ten) elder Americans in long-term care facilities will experience direct physical, emotional, or psychological abuse by a member of a nursing home's staff.
Indeed, nursing home residents in Arkansas often become helpless victims of owners, management, and staff members of these homes who care more about profits and their personal wellbeing than they do for the people in their care.
But those victims don't have to suffer in silence.Victims Fight for Their Rights in Elder Abuse Lawsuits in Arkansas Nursing Homes
Victims of nursing home abuse in Arkansas and their families have a voice. In addition to reaching out to outside resources (like the Arkansas Department of Human Services) or filing a complaint with the Arkansas Office of Long Term Care, victims can also pursue legal action against the liable parties.
Under Arkansas law, there is a limited amount of time during which victims, their representatives, or the surviving family members of victims can file a claim for nursing home abuse in Arkansas.
If you're struggling to hold at-fault parties accountable and get compensation for the physical abuse, neglect, and mental trauma you've experienced at the hands of nursing home staff, you need legal help fast.
Paul Pfeifer, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Arkansas, can help. Call us today at 501-374-4440 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We can even schedule consultations after hours and on weekends by appointment to fit your busy schedule. This invaluable consultation is free, and you don't owe us any money unless we recover for you.