Many seniors need more medical care, treatment, and day-to-day assistance than their families can provide. When family members make the difficult decision to move an older relative into a nursing home or assisted living facility, they place their trust in the staff and management to care for their loved one with competence, compassion, and attentiveness. However, too often, that trust is betrayed.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of elderly residents are subjected to negligent care or even cruel treatment, leaving them with severe physical injuries and psychological scars. At the same time, their families struggle with guilt, anger, and a need to hold those responsible accountable for the harm they cause.
A 2017 congressional report outlined the troubling scope of nursing home abuse and neglect across the U.S., finding that there were 9,000 incidents of abuse at over 5,200 facilities during the two years they studied, and 1,601 of those incidents put the residents at immediate risk of serious injury or death. One study found that over 50 percent of nursing home staffs admitted to mistreating residents in their care over the prior year.
Nearly a third of Maine’s residents are projected to be over the age of 65 by 2030, but the state has fewer nursing home beds per capita than most other states. That combination means that the problem of nursing home abuse and neglect may well go from bad to worse.