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A hard look at nursing home realities in Michigan

It's hard to read stories, like our last Ann Arbor medical malpractice law blog entry, about elderly nursing home residents falling prey to neglect and abuse. These senior citizens are uniquely vulnerable; they are often physically weak, perhaps in failing health and may suffer from cognitive difficulties as well. Yet it's important for our readers to be informed about the issue, in part because it's frighteningly common here in Michigan.

The number of Michiganders living in traditional nursing homes today is over 45,000. Of those, a study recently found that over 20 percent -- one out of every five residents -- suffers from nursing home neglect. And in just the last three years, Michigan facilities have been cited at nearly double the national average rate for serious violations involving harm or jeopardizing residents' safety.

With three out of every four nursing homes in Michigan cited for such violations, residents may wonder whether these incidents are all isolated events, or whether there is some undercurrent in our society that contributes to an environment in which nursing home abuse can take place at such shocking rates. The fact is that patient safety all too often takes a back seat to turning a profit in corporate-run facilities.

As a result, legal professionals experienced in medical malpractice cases arising from nursing homes often find staff that are overworked and inadequately trained. We find health and safety violations because no one is keeping an eye out for them, or maybe there is no one to report them to. These factors lead to tragic and otherwise avoidable serious injuries, illnesses and deaths.

This information is provided as general background only, and not as specific legal advice. But before trying to take on this corporate culture by oneself, spend a few minutes on our Nursing Home Injury and Abuse page. Consider how a legal professional may help your claim for compensation on behalf of your loved one.

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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC
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