The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has rated Tennessee nursing homes among the best in the country in terms of overall performance, quality of medical care and nurse staffing. And yet still according to the CMS, Tennessee is also the state with some of the nursing homes with the highest fines levied for industry violations and for putting patients in harm’s way. So what is the true story?

Caring for the elderly is a difficult proposition, requiring exceptional patience and skill from the care giving staff. This is especially true with patients that suffer from mental disorders. This is one of the reasons why many nursing homes are severely understaffed or have staff members who are simply not competent enough to provide the care needed by residents.

In many cases, staff members simply neglect their charges, or worse, abuse them physically, emotionally, or verbally to keep them in line and make their work easier. Because nursing home residents are dependent on their caregivers, such incidents of neglect or abuse seldom get reported. This can take the form of poor hygiene, malnutrition, bed sores, forced confinement to quarters, pushing, shoving, yelling, and other forms of cruelty. The residents are often infirm and scared, so they take the abuse and even deny that it happens when asked. In the meantime, they become more sickly, less sociable, and withdrawn.

According to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A. long-term and persistent abuse or neglect can hasten the deterioration of a resident. It falls on family members and friends to nose out problems and to do something about it.

If you suspect that an elderly loved one is not getting the care they need in a nursing home, you need to take steps to protect them before it’s too late. Consult with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Tennessee to help you go about filing a case in a constructive and effective manner.