Nursing Home Abuse
Many of us have loved ones currently living in a nursing home. It is estimated that there are 17,000 nursing homes in the United States which care for approximately 1.6 million residents. By 2050, as the population ages, nursing home occupancy is expected to quadruple to 6.6 million. Unfortunately, due to stressful working conditions, staff exhaustion, and inadequate training, nursing home abuse is a serious problem.
If you have a loved one who you believe is the victim of nursing home abuse a nursing home abuse attorney familiar with nursing home neglect law can help answer your questions. If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or assisted living facility please fill out the Free Evaluation and a lawyer who is an expert at nursing home neglect will evaluate your case.
Nursing and Elder Abuse Compensation
If a professional failed to give reasonable care to a resident and abuse has occurred often a medical malpractice claim can be filed. The abuse may be criminal in nature and a criminal charge may also be filed.
The court ruling or settlement amount is determined by the type of abuse, the extent of the injuries, current and future medical costs and other pain and suffering. Often the personal injury settlement or ruling will be determined by judgments in previous negligence cases. A personal injury attorney familiar with nursing home abuse can help insure you receive the maxim compensation for your loved one's personal injuries.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Neglect can take many forms and be very hard to detect. It could be failure to change clothes, not providing bathing opportunities or sufficient food and water. If a staff member fails to assist with bathing, eating, or walking when that assistance is needed this could also be neglect. To recognize neglect evaluate the cleanliness of the bathrooms, a resident's clothes, nails, hair and attitudes.
Abuse can take many forms. Abuse can be an intentional physical act such as hitting, inappropriate drugging, restraining, or burning. Physical neglect can be defined as failing to provide a basic element for the resident's survival. This could include not providing food, water, heat/air conditioning, or allowing unsupervised wandering.
Sexual abuse is sometimes present in assisted living settings. Sexual abuse may be from the staff or other residents. Sexual abuse can take many forms such as sexual intercourse, nude photography and sexual battery.
Unfortunately, mental abuse may not be as visible or easily recognized as other types of abuse, but it is very serious. Mental abuse could include: yelling, verbally harassing, isolating or intimidating a resident. If you have witnessed any of these health issues with a loved one or family member a personal injury attorney familiar with personal injury law can help evaluate your personal injury case.
Since the 1980s, a series of governmental legislation has been enacted to ensure nursing homes provide quality care for the highest practical physical, mental, psychosocial well-being of each resident. To participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs certain federal guidelines must be met. These include maintaining adequate nursing staff, assessing the functional capacity of each resident, and maintaining good nutrition, grooming and personal oral hygiene of each resident. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes follow these standards and neglect and abuse do occur.
Nursing Home Regulations and Law
Congress established the first standards for nursing facilities in 1967. The creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 also brought additional federal regulations of nursing home care. If a facility accepts Medicare and Medicaid they must follow a set of established guidelines and federal standards. The Health Care Finance Administration which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services ensures nursing homes follow these federal regulations. In addition to complying with federal regulations many states have also adopted tougher laws to regulate nursing home care. All residents have protected rights under the Nursing Home Reforms Act and the American with Disabilities Act. Under the Nursing Home Reform Acts a resident has the following rights:
- Residents have the right to be fully informed of services provided, cost of charges and the rules and regulations of the nursing home.
- Residents have the right to participate in their own care.
- Residents have the right to make independent choices.
- Residents have the right to privacy and confidentiality.
- Residents have the right to dignity, respect, and freedom.
- Residents have the right to security of possessions.
- Residents have rights during transfers and discharges.
- Residents have the right to complain without fear of reprisal.
- A resident has the right to visits.
Let a Nursing Home Neglect Attorney help you!
It is difficult watching a loved one age and be unable to live as independently as they once did. Often when complications become too great to care for loved ones on our own we must turn to a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Many places provide excellent care but unfortunately, some do not. If there are staff members who are underpaid, poorly trained, or overworked mistreatment may occur.
A nursing abuse lawyer is a great resource to help review your loved one's care to determine if there has been physical or mental abuse or neglect. An attorney can help with the following steps:
- Contacting the Nursing Home Administrator
- Contacting the police department
- Contacting the department in your state who regulates nursing home care and filing a complaint
- Filing a medical malpractice claim
Unfortunately, nursing home negligence has become an ever growing concern. Negligence and abuse can lead not only to personal injury but maybe even wrongful death. If you have loved ones who have suffered a personal injury as a resident of a health care facility a nursing home neglect attorney can help file a personal injury claim to help you received compensation for your personal injuries.