Ohio has the seventh-largest older adult population in the nation. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and negligence reports are on the rise throughout the United States, including in Ohio.
Statistics show that Ohio’s nursing home performance ratings are among the lowest in the country, in terms of the quality of care they provide to their residents. In fact, in 2017 approximately 41% of nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Ohio earned a “below average” rating on the federal Nursing Home Compare website, as opposed to 35% nationally.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of Ohio nursing home negligence or abuse, you may be entitled to nursing home abuse compensation for your injuries and damages under Ohio law. The experienced nursing home abuse attorneys of Plevin & Gallucci have the legal knowledge and skills to represent you throughout your case and to litigate your case in court, if necessary.
Article at a Glance
- Nursing home abuse is an ongoing problem throughout Ohio, which is home to many of the nation’s below-average nursing homes.
- Learning to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse or elder abuse generally can help you protect your loved ones while they receive care in a skilled nursing facility.
- A nursing home abuse attorney can help injured patients and their families hold nursing homes liable for their misconduct and recover nursing home abuse compensation.
Ohio Statistics for Nursing Home Abuse
According to the Ohio Department of Aging’s annual report for 2016, Ohio’s overall population is expected to grow by 2 percent between 2010 and 2030. In that timeframe, however, the older population will grow almost 20 times faster — by 47% for over-60 and by 46% for over-65 groups. That could mean even more potential cases of nursing home abuse over the next decade.
While about 1.7 million Ohioans provide some type of support to an aging loved one, friend or neighbor, the state also has nearly 1,000 nursing homes. According to Policy Matters Ohio, about 15,000 cases of elder abuse are reported each year in Ohio, though the vast majority go unreported. The most incidences of elder abuse occur in Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Montgomery Counties, with Cuyahoga County estimating more than 12,000 cases of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation alone in 2014.
Over the past three years in the state of Ohio, at least 31 nursing home deaths were attributed to issues of negligent care provided by nursing home staff. Sadly, this statistic may be even higher because it depends upon honest and accurate reporting by the nursing care facilities themselves.
Ohio’s alarmingly high nursing home negligence and abuse statistics may be attributed to some or all of the following:
- Ohio only requires 75 hours of training for nursing assistants, which is significantly less than the number of hours required in other states. Nursing assistants are the primary caregivers in nursing and assisted living facilities;
- Ohio nursing facilities are only required to make 2.5 hours of nursing staff time available for each resident per day (Ohio Administrative Code 3701-17-08);
- Ohio has a limited number of nursing home inspectors when compared with other states;
- Most Ohio nursing care facilities are operated as for-profit organizations and as such, they are more likely to be ranked at the bottom of the rankings on the federal Nursing Home Compare website;
- Ohio nursing home patients seem to be more dissatisfied with the quality of care they receive when compared with nursing home residents in other states.
Types of Ohio Nursing Home Abuse
Ohio nursing home abuse or negligence may be committed by any nursing home employee. The employees who are most responsible for nursing home abuse or negligence include the following:
- Nursing assistants;
- Physical therapists;
- Nurse practitioners;
- Nursing home administrators.
Some of the most common examples of nursing home negligence include the following:
- Errors in dispensing or administering medication to patients;
- Failing to adequately supervise or treat a patient;
- Mishandling a patient;
- Failing to call a doctor when the situation warrants;
- Failing to provide proper patient care under the circumstances;
- Failing to report a serious patient complaint or finding to the doctor or nurse on duty;
- Failing to adequately and appropriately respond to a patient’s needs (including signs or symptoms of injury, stroke, or heart attack, for example).
See also: Nursing Homes: Using Your Senses, What You Need to Know and Ask Before Placing a Loved One in a Nursing Home
Nursing Home Abuse Compensation: Legal Bases for Recovery
Nursing home abuse liability is typically established under the Ohio Medical Malpractice Statute. Pursuant to that statute, a healthcare provider working for a nursing home is held to the standard of care of a reasonably prudent health care provider acting under the same or similar circumstances.
Since the health care provider is also an employee of the nursing home, the nursing home itself (or one or more of the nursing home’s administrators) may face potential liability under Ohio agency law.
An injured patient might also have a cause of action against the nursing home for negligent hiring, negligent supervision, and/or negligent retention of the negligent or abusive healthcare provider charged with committing the malpractice or negligence.
Warning Signs for Cases of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
The Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services in Cleveland offers tips on how to spot red flags for elder abuse. To file a nursing home abuse report or other nursing home complaint in Ohio, contact the Ohio Department of Health by:
- Calling the Complaint Hotline between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM at 1-800-342-0553;
- Mailing your complaint to ODH, PCSU, 246 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215;
- Faxing your complaint to (614) 728-9169 or (614) 564-2422 if your complaint is less than 10 pages;
- Emailing your complaint to HCComplaints@odh.ohio.gov; or
- Completing the online complaint form (HEA 1685).
Signs of abuse include:
This includes lack of basic hygiene, adequate food, medical aids, or clean and appropriate clothing. Untreated bed sores or being left alone with dementia or when confined to a bed also are signs of neglect. Self-neglect includes when a home is filthy or in disrepair, or without working facilities such as a stove, refrigerator, electricity, or plumbing.
When someone gives away excessive gifts or money to their caregiver, it can be a sign of financial abuse or exploitation. Similarly, when a caregiver has control of the elder’s money but is failing to provide for them, it’s a good sign the elder is being abused. Be on the lookout as well for when an elder uses Power of Attorney or updates his or her will but can’t understand these transactions.
When an elder withdraws from normal activities, take notice. Additionally, if a caregiver is isolating the elder, like not letting anyone into the home to speak to or see them, or being aggressive, demeaning, or controlling, you have a problem.
It’s difficult to stomach the idea of someone hurting a person who cannot defend themselves, such as an elder, but it happens. If you notice unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, or sores, make sure to report this immediately.
Contact an Ohio Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
Statistically, nursing home negligence and abuse occurs on a daily basis in Ohio. Many observers only expect the problem to grow as the number of residents over 65 is expected to grow by 45 percent over the next 15 years.
It is important to note that in addition to having a cause of action against a negligent or abusive health care provider, an injured patient also may have a cause of action against the nursing home itself based upon agency, negligent hiring, negligent retention, and/or negligent supervision.
If you or someone you love has sustained injuries as a result of a healthcare provider or Ohio nursing facility’s negligence or abuse, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the Ohio Medical Malpractice Statute. You can contact the experienced Ohio medical malpractice lawyers of Plevin & Gallucci anytime via telephone or online for a free consultation.