Nursing-home abuse and neglect: Nevada nursing-home quality scores

Family members must monitor loved ones in nursing homes for signs of abuse or neglect.

Nursing-home quality of care does not have a good reputation and Nevadans who must place their loved ones in institutional care naturally are worried about the possibility of abuse and neglect. In one study, Nevada placed 26th in comparative state quality rankings, earning it a grade of C, but several key areas of performance were disturbingly lower.

All the states surrounding Nevada had higher rankings in the most recent report from 2014.

The Nursing Home Report Card is a project of the nonprofit advocacy group Families for Better Care. Using statistics from the Kaiser Health Foundation, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Nursing Home Compare and the Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, the study ranks eight key quality factors to get the overall rankings.

Nevada's scores were:

  • A: Professional nursing hours per resident and verified ombudsman complaints
  • B: Professional nurse staffing above average
  • C: Facilities with severe deficiencies (one in five nursing homes)
  • D: Health inspections above average and direct care staffing above average
  • F: Direct care staffing hours per resident and facilities with deficiencies (almost every nursing home was cited at least once)

This is not good news for Nevada families, who must vigilantly monitor their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities for elder abuse, neglect and substandard medical care. The major areas of abuse of seniors by others are:

  • Physical: The use of force that injures or causes pain; physical punishment; excessive chemical or physical restraint; families should watch for unexplained injury like bruises, fractures, internal injuries and changes in behavior
  • Sexual: Sexual contact or behavior without consent or with a patient without the mental incapacity to consent; acts of sexual violence; exposure to pornography; symptoms may include bruising, STDs, bleeding or injury to private areas of the body, and stained or ripped undergarments
  • Psychological: Behavior that causes anxiety or distress like verbal abuse, threats, humiliation and disrespect; isolation; signs can be agitation, withdrawal, inability or refusal to talk, rocking and more
  • Neglectful: Failure to provide for a person's needs like food, water, hygiene, medical care and safety; look for bed sores, poor hygiene, failure to provide prescribed medical treatment or medication, soiled bedding or clothing, unsanitary conditions, improper clothing for temperature; dehydration and malnutrition
  • Financial: Use or theft or an elder's money or property without permission or when the person is unable to provide consent; signs at a nursing home may include missing funds or personal property

In the most serious cases, nursing-home residents can actually die as a result of abuse.

Any Nevadan who discovers or suspects nursing-home abuse or neglect should secure emergency and medical services, followed by consultation with an attorney about potential legal remedies like a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Legal counsel will immediately conduct an investigation of the situation on behalf of the elder and his or her family.

The lawyers of The Gage Law Firm, PLLC, represent clients in nursing-home abuse and neglect matters in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada.