Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys In New York
Nursing home abuse is among the most horrific of humiliations and injustices that occur in the senior population, a group that is often comprised of extremely vulnerable individuals.
The mistreatment, abuse, and negligence of elderly individuals involves intentional actions that lead to a serious risk of harm, whether conducted with intention or not, to a senior by a caregiver or by a person in a position of trust. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) senior abuse is “a violation of human rights and a significant cause of illness, injury, loss of productivity, isolation, and despair.”
The New York attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP believe that everyone should be treated with dignity, especially those who are under our care and who are unable to protect themselves. Our firm has long been committed to ensuring appropriate, compassionate care for our New York clients who are nursing home facility residents and remains committed to fighting for justice and financial compensation when proper care has not been given.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Nursing Home Facility
Nursing homes are meant to provide the elder community with safe, compassionate, ethical, dignified, clean, living spaces and treatment. Sadly, although many nursing homes do provide such care, abuse often does occur.
When abuse and neglect take place, those who are responsible must be held accountable for their actions and/or inaction. If you are concerned that a loved one has been or is being abused or neglected at a nursing home facility, you may have valuable legal rights that will enable you and your family to receive justice and hold the nursing home and its staff accountable.
Stories of nursing home abuse seem to be increasingly making news, yet the practice continues. When family and loved ones are seeking ethical, respectful, and appropriate care for their senior relatives they are often left with the limited option of placing their elder family member in a nursing home where serious abuse and neglect, including physical pain, emotional pain, humiliation, and death may occur. This is becoming an increasingly significant issue given that our senior population is expanding and living longer.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
It is often difficult to determine when our loved ones in nursing home facilities are being subjected to abject circumstances and abusive treatment in facilities that are poorly run; that are staffed with unqualified, undertrained, neglectful, and/or abusive staff; and that place profits over resident care. Typically, nursing home facilities that permit these behaviors are likely to under-report instances of abuse and neglect.
Physical abuse is the most obvious type of abuse; however, there are myriad ways in which the elderly may be mistreated and abused.
For example potential signs of neglect and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse include:
- Bed sores
- Bleeding near or in the genital or anal areas
- Blood on the resident’s undergarments
- Broken bones
- Bruises, bruising seen in the breast, genital, and/or anal areas
- Clothing that is torn, dirty, or bloody
- Dirty living conditions
- Dirty, torn bed sheets
- Emotional withdrawal
- Improper medication administration, not administering medication
- Infections, chronic infections
- Open wounds
- Unexpected, unexplained injuries
- Unexplained death
- Venereal disease
Federal Laws Governing Nursing Homes
Various federal and state laws have been enacted to ensure nursing home residents are protected against abuse and neglect, while also ensuring that resident privacy and security are maintained.
The U.S. Congress enacted legislation in 1987 following an increasing number of reports of abuse and neglect in nursing homes that mandated all nursing homes participate in Medicare and Medicaid must remain in compliance with specific standards of care that are detailed in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987, also known as the federal Nursing Home Reform Act to maintain participation in Medicare and Medicaid.
The Act indicates that nursing homes “must provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.”
Under federal regulations, nursing homes must comply with the following, which must be administered in a way that enables the facility to effectively and efficiently utilize its resources.
Noncompliance is against federal law:
- Conduct an initial comprehensive and accurate assessment of every resident’s functional capacity. This is to be followed with a comprehensive care plan.
- Ensure that an appropriate level of nursing staff is maintained; residents receive appropriate treatment and assistive devices to maintain vision and hearing; residents do not develop pressure sores and, if a resident is diagnosed with pressure sores, required treatment and services must be conducted to aid in healing and infection remediation and new sore prevention; residents receive proper supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents; residents are free of significant medication errors; and all resident maintain the right to choose activities, schedules, and health care.
- Provide necessary services to maintain healthy and appropriate nutrition, grooming, and oral hygiene to residents unable to carry out these activities of daily living; appropriate treatment and services to incontinent residents so that the most normal bladder functioning is restored; sufficient fluid intake to maintain proper hydration and health; and pharmaceutical services for each resident.
- Maintain acceptable “parameters of nutritional status” for every resident; accurate, complete, and readily accessible clinical records; and dignity and respect.
- Promote every resident’s quality of life and prevent the deterioration of every resident’s ability to “bathe, dress, groom, transfer and ambulate, toilet, eat, and communicate.”
New York Laws Governing Nursing Homes
From a state perspective, nursing homes receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds must comply with federal nursing home regulations; however, some states may have enacted more stringent regulations, which must also be followed.
Nursing home residents in New York have specific rights that are detailed in the “Your Rights as a Nursing Home Resident in New York State and Nursing Home Responsibilities – June 2010” issued by the Department of Health.
New York nursing home residents have the right to:
- Dignity, respect, and a comfortable living environment
- Quality of care and treatment without discrimination
- Freedom of choice to make your own, independent decisions
- The safeguard of your property and money
- Safeguards in admission transfer and discharge
- Privacy in communications
- Participate in organizations and activities of your choice
- An easy-to-use and responsive complaint procedure
- Exercise all of your rights without fear of reprisals
If You Have Questions About Filing A New York Nursing Home Lawsuit
The attorneys Parker Waichman have a long history of successfully fighting New York nursing home abuse and negligence lawsuits. If you or someone you know has been injured or died due to negligence or abuse at a New York nursing home, the firm offers legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Florida
Our New York personal injury attorneys are here to help you when you need it the most.