Nursing home abuse in Arkansas comes in many forms. While physical and emotional violence have the most obvious effects, neglect, carelessness, and distracted employees can wreak havoc on an individual’s health and wellbeing. When you trust your loved one to the care of professionals in a nursing home, you expect they will be treated with dignity, respect, and receive the attention they deserve. But financial pressures, staffing constraints, and high employee turnover can all erode that solid base upon which your loved one’s health, safety, and their very lives rest. In fact, Arkansas nursing homes are, statistically, some of the worst in the nation when it comes to specific safety violations.
1-in-5 Arkansas Nursing Homes Cited for “Significant” Violations
There are a total of 234 licensed nursing homes in Arkansas. 46 of them have been cited for what the U.S. Centers for Medicate and Medicaid Services classify as ‘Significant” medication errors. That’s 1 out of every 5 nursing homes in your area. Is your loved one housed in one of these facilities?
Keep in mind, that’s just the errors that are officially reported. How many medication errors happen that don’t get reported? Individual cases involving nursing home employees who were either never officially reprimanded, or whose misdeeds were never brought to the attention of state investigators suggest that number could very well be much higher.
The federal government does not take these errors lightly. Indeed, federal data shows that nursing homes in Arkansas were fined a total of $1.3 million in 2013 for 43 cases of medication dosing errors. But these potentially deadly errors still occur every day.
In fact, the rate of medication errors in Arkansas nursing homes far exceeds the national average. Arkansas nursing homes ranked at the top 3% for serious medication errors nationwide for the last five years running.
What is a “Significant” Medication Error?
Medication dosing errors include:
- Giving residents the wrong medication
- Giving them too much (or too little) of the right medication
- Giving them somebody else’s medication
- Failing to give the right dosage at the right time
(In one such serious violation a resident was given medication for 80 days after their physician ordered it stopped.)
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services classifies these medication errors as “significant” when they
1) Put a patient’s life or wellbeing in danger
2) Occur repeatedly
3) Involve certain drugs more dangerous than others (such as narcotics)
While mistakes do happen, and medication dosing errors don’t always result in serious or long-lasting effects, any error that puts your loved one at risk should not be tolerated. Indeed, repeated dosing errors or serious medication errors may be a symptom of a more severe problem within the nursing home. These grievous errors may constitute nursing home abuse and could give injured individuals or their loved ones cause to file lawsuits in order to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Legal fees
- And more
Ultimately what we hope to see as a result of filing lawsuits to hold negligent nursing homes liable is better care for our loved ones, the care they deserve to receive, and to prevent others from being mistreated and abused at the hands of those hired to protect and care for them.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in Arkansas
Abuse in an Arkansas nursing home should never be tolerated. If you witness (or even suspect) abuse, speak up! Your first resource should be the nursing home’s senior management. If they don’t satisfactorily solve the problem, it’s time to escalate the issue. The State of Arkansas’s Department of Human Services website allows concerned individuals to report abuse, neglect, and unsafe conditions at long-term care facilities within the state.
However, it may be necessary for you to pursue the matter even further and hire an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Arkansas to represent yourself or your family in the matter. Having legal assistance on your side allows you to explore all of the options available to you while taking full advantage of a professional’s years of experience.