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National Report Highlights Widespread Nursing Home Abuse

by on May 29, 2014

The Federal Government has released statistics that should be alarming to anyone concerned about nursing home neglect and abuse in Arizona. The report shows that a large number of patients who are moved to a skilled nursing facility for recovery are instead injured by those hired to help them.

The report is based on a study that used a nationwide sample so that researchers could estimate the medical care abuses across the country. It therefore sheds light on how common Phoenix nursing home abuse may be.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, report it to the nursing home administrator and Arizona authorities right away. If there is reason to believe that there has been physical or sexual abuse or a serious crime, report it to the police as well.

The Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Wattel & York offer free and confidential consultations to victims of elder abuse to discuss their legal rights.

Study finds nursing home abuse and neglect is common

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General studied the harm resulting from medical care, which the researchers termed “adverse events”, in skilled nursing facilities between 2008 and 2012. At the direction of Congress, the study’s focus was on the nursing home abuse suffered across the country by patients receiving Medicare benefits.

The study involved a review of medical records for more than 600 patients who were released from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities. It found that a third of those patients experienced some type of harm as a result of their medical care.

According to doctors who reviewed the records, almost 60% of the “adverse events” were clearly or likely preventable, resulting from inadequate treatment or monitoring or from care that was unnecessarily – and dangerously – delayed. Over half of those injured needed to return to the hospital for further treatment.

Arizona nursing home regulators warn of dangers

The Arizona Department of Health Services, which oversees the licensing of nursing homes in Phoenix and all across Arizona, has warned of the different types of abuse to be watchful of:

  • Physical abuse – violence like hitting, but also including misuse of medication to control a resident’s behavior
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual abuse – there should never be any sexual contact between staff and residents
  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse – including theft and misusing personal funds
  • Neglect
  • Isolation

Liability for nursing home abuse or neglect

To hold nursing home owners or employees liable for abuse or neglect, victims must prove the following:

  • They breached a duty of care that they owed to the victim
  • The breach caused the injuries
  • The injuries resulted from the owner’s or employee’s actions

The Phoenix nursing home abuse attorneys at Wattel & York fight to protect the rights of nursing home residents and have a combined half-century of experience.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona, call us to schedule a free & confidential case evaluation. There is no obligation and we do not take a fee unless we recover for you.


  1. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries,
  2. Arizona Department of Health Services, Abuse in Nursing Homes – What to Do,

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