Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
Nursing home abuse is one of the most distressing of indignities targeting our older, vulnerable loved ones. While news of such abuse routinely makes the news, the deplorable practice continues.
This is significant given that our senior population is expanding and living longer, which leads to more and more family caretakers finding themselves in the challenging position of placing older relatives and loved ones in the care of nursing home facilities.
Sadly, those family and loved ones who seek ethical, appropriate care for their senior relatives are often left with very limited options; their loved ones often suffer devastating indignities that include a broad array of abuse and neglect. Sadly, patients often suffer, not just physical pain, but humiliation, and in some cases death over inadequate care and abuse.
Nursing home facilities are meant to provide safe, compassionate, ethical, clean, and healthy treatment and living spaces for the elderly; however, abuse does happen and, when our elder loved ones are injured in any way, those responsible must be held responsible for their actions.
Our firm believes that everyone should be treated with dignity, especially those under our care who are unable to protect themselves. Our firm has long been committed to ensuring appropriate, compassionate care for our clients and are clients loved ones who are nursing home facility residents and is also committed to fighting for justice and financial compensation, when proper care has not been given.
Should you be concerned that a loved one has been, or is being victimized, at a nursing home facility, you may have valuable legal rights that will enable you to receive justice for your loved one and family and hold the nursing home and its staff accountable. Our lawyers have long fought against negligent and abusive nursing home staff and facilities.
Laws Governing Nursing Homes
Various federal and state laws have been enacted to ensure that nursing home residents are protected against abuse and neglect and that resident privacy and security are maintained.
Following mounting reports of broad abuse and neglect in nursing homes, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation in 1987 that mandated every nursing home that participates in Medicare and Medicate to remain in compliance with specific rules.
Nursing homes facilities are federally mandated to follow these specific standards of care detailed in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987, also known as the federal Nursing Home Reform Act. 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.”
To participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs, nursing homes must be in compliance with federal requirements for long-term care facilities.
Under federal regulations, nursing homes must adhere to the following, which must be administered in a manner that enables the facility to effectively and efficiently utilize its resources.
Noncompliance is against federal law:
- Conduct an initial comprehensive and accurate assessment of each resident’s functional capacity 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, that required treatment and services are conducted to aid in healing and infection and new sore prevention; residents receives proper supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents; residents are free of significant medication errors; that every resident maintains the right to choose activities, schedules, and healthcare
- Provide needed services to maintain healthy and appropriate nutrition, grooming, and oral hygiene to residents unable to carry out 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—for every resident—acceptable “parameters of nutritional status”; 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.”
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 Abuse Statistics
A 2001 Congressional report revealed that just about one in three United States nursing homes had been cited for at least one abuse violation over a two-year period. “In over 1,600 of these nursing homes, the abuse violations were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury,” the report indicated.
The American Psychological Association estimates that approximately 2.1 million older Americans become victims of abuse, which, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, involves all socioeconomic, racial, religious, and cultural groups.
Sources believe that for each case of nursing home abuse reported, upwards of five cases go unreported. What’s more, research indicates that elders who are abused are likelier to die earlier than those who receive appropriate care, regardless of life-threatening illness. Abuse spans physical, psychological, sexual, and financial neglect and maltreatment.
According to Alzheimer’s Association reports, approximately 5.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease today; by 2025, that figure will likely reach 7.1 million. There are concerns that, with an increase in patients who are very vulnerable and unable to protect themselves, these patients may be the focus of neglect and abuse in poorly run, abusive facilities.
Signs of Nursing Home
We often are unaware when our loved ones are faced with abject circumstances and abusive treatment in poorly run facilities that place facility profits over resident care, whose staff is unqualified or undertrained, or whose staff is neglecting—worse—abusing its residents. Facilities that allow these behaviors and processes likely underreport instances of abuse.
Physical abuse is, by far, the most obvious abuse; however, there are many ways in which the elderly may be mistreated and abused. If you suspect any of the following has occurred to your loved one in a nursing home, speak to one of our Nursing Home attorneys today.
- Bed sores; open wounds; and unexpected, unexplained injuries, such as bruises, cuts, and broken bones representing potential signs of neglect and physical abuse
- Clothing that is torn, dirty, or bloody, representing potential signs of neglect and physical and/or sexual abuse
- Dehydration; malnourishment; improper medication administration or not administering medication; dirty clothing, bed sheets, and living conditions; and infections, chronic infections, representing potential signs of neglect
- Emotional withdrawal, which is typically the result of potential emotional abuse suggesting intimidation, yelling, threats, humiliation, neglect, isolation, terrorizing, mocking
- Bleeding near or in the genital or anal areas; venereal disease; blood on the resident’s undergarments; bruises seen in the breast, genital, and/or anal areas; bloody clothing, representing potential signs of sexual abuse
- Unexplained death
Filing A Lawsuit?
Filing complaints with local law enforcement or local and state government agencies may be a daunting and frustrating process, especially if government regulators do not resolve your complaints and address your worries.
Determining nursing home ownership may be equally frustrating, especially given that many facilities work under larger parent companies with different names, often meant to confuse those seeking justice. Understanding various local, state, and federal laws meant to protect your loved one may also pose complex challenges.
Because our attorneys have long been fighting against nursing home abuse, they have a deep and broad understanding of the industry and the laws with which nursing homes are governed. Our attorneys are able to quickly locate responsible parties, including the ultimate owners of poorly run nursing homes and nursing homes that allow abuse and neglect. We are also able to aggressively seek just and fair compensations for injuries suffered by nursing home residents and their loved ones.
Nursing Home Abuse
Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free legal consultations to victims of injuries allegedly caused by neglect or abuse in nursing home facilities.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury or neglect in a nursing home, please contact our office for a free case evaluation by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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