When you place a loved one in a nursing home, it is because you expect that their daily needs will be met. You expect that qualified staff members will assist your loved one in the process of eating, changing clothing, personal grooming and being transferred from a medical bed. You want to know that your loved one is receiving protection in a nursing home facility. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse has become such a serious problem in facilities throughout the United States that it is no longer possible to simply assume a loved one is safe or protected in a nursing home. Family members must closely watch the practices of nursing homes to make sure that staff members are treating loved ones in the appropriate manner. This means that loved ones are receiving the medications they need, proper nutrition, physical therapy services and are also being treated with dignity and respect.
In Washington, the statistics show that nursing home abuse and neglect are problems that impact numerous facilities in the state. A University of California-San Francisco research study found that over 40 percent of nursing home facilities have serious issues in regards to quality of care and maintaining professional standards. In 2008, there were also issues in regards to the fact that over 62 percent of facilities had an accident-prone environment. Nursing home abuse has become commonplace, and it is vital that you act to protect your loved one when necessary.
State and Federal Nursing Home Laws
Under the federal law, the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 is the major source of legal authority for upholding the rights of residents. There are numerous rights outlined in this federal statute, and there are also sanctions for nursing homes that fail to uphold these rights. When a nursing home engages in prohibited behavior, such as the use of physical or chemical restraints, they may be subject to sanctions that include prohibition from Medicare or Medicaid funding programs. Other sanctions that may impact Washington nursing homes include a directed training program for staff members, directed plan of correction, payment of civil penalty fees, new management services and termination of the provider agreement.
The state legislative authority in place to oversee the treatment of residents at nursing homes is the Abuse of Vulnerable Adults Act. The Abuse of Vulnerable Adults Act sets forth the processes for reporting abuse, department investigation of abuse and ultimate protection services that are available for adults who have been abused. The statute also creates a cause of action for damages in regards to those who have been victims of abuse. The statute encourages a negotiation process with the health care provider, so family members should get in touch with a nursing home lawyer to assist in this resolution process. If the dispute is not resolved in the least formal setting possible, then it is possible for the parties to pursue a claim in court.
Get Information from the Ombudsman Program
There are several departments for which family members may report nursing home neglect in Washington. These departments include the Washington State Department of Health, Adult Abuse Prevention Act, Aging & Disability Services Administration and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. At the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, family members can receive information about nursing home neglect in Washington. They may wish to further understand what constitutes neglect or abuse in Washington, and the ombudsman program can help.
In addition, family members can obtain information about the past incidents of abuse or neglect at nursing homes. There may have been a pattern of neglect at one’s nursing home facility that family members were not aware existed at the time of enrollment. Nursing home lawyers are also available to help you get information from this critical office in Washington.
Talk to Nursing Home Lawyers in Washington Today
Call our lawyers today to schedule a free consultation about your case. You can learn whether damages may be available for a cause of action of a loved one. Nursing home lawyers are available to support you and your loved one in this difficult time. Our attorneys are available to assist families throughout Washington in areas such as:
Talk to our lawyers today so that you can learn more about how we can help your case.
Nursing Home Negligence
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
- 3 years with Discovery Rule. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §4.16.080)
- Medical malpractice – 3 years after the act or omission or one year after the discovery of the alleged negligent act or omission, whichever is later. No act shall be brought more than 8 years after the act or omission. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §4.16.350)
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
- 3 years with Discovery Rule. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §4.16.080(2))
- Abuse of Vulnerable Adults – (Wash. Rev. Code Ann §74.34)