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Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

What to Do If You Have Been Abused While Living in a Nursing Home

how-to-report-nursing-home-abuseDo you suspect abuse due to the physical signs of your loved one living in a nursing home? Are you considering reporting nursing home abuse to the proper authorities to ensure your loved one is protected?

At the Nursing Home Law Center, our personal injury attorneys represent victims of elder abuse to ensure they receive the justice and financial compensation they deserve. Call us at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

In the United States, there are more than 15 million people who live in nursing homes. These living facilities provide medical care and rehabilitation for those who cannot take care of themselves at home.

Unfortunately, these same facilities can be sources of nursing home abuse as well. This blog post will focus on what to do if you or someone you know has been abused while living in a nursing home. 

The 9 Most Common Complaints About Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are often the last resort for many people who cannot care for themselves or get family services. However, like any other living situation, nursing facilities can be good or bad depending on various factors.

  • Caregivers may be lacking in number or quality
  • You might find yourself with roommates that you don't get along with very well because they're too noisy, or they hog all the space in your room by taking up more than their fair share of room space 
  • Your personal items may go missing, and nobody will take responsibility for it (this is especially true if you have a roommate)
  • The food served might be of poor quality or very bland tasting 
  • Your freedom to come and go as you please may be limited by staff who don't understand your needs or limitations
  • The staff takes too long answering call lights when nursing home patients need immediate help with using the bathroom
  • The rooms may not be adequately cleaned regularly or promptly
  • Infection may be spread due to unsanitary conditions such as dirty bathrooms, unkempt showers, and shared bedrooms
  • There may be unsanitary food preparation methods (especially if you are a resident who is receiving meals in your room)

Nursing home residents often feel neglected with their basic personal hygiene or clothing changes, leading to infections and other healthcare-related problems. Even though many nursing home facilities in the United States, these problems are not limited to only one type of institution.

Therefore, it's important to report nursing home abuse or detect warning signs when you come across it.

The Immediate Danger of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is a disgusting act that harms not only the victim but also destroys families. In addition, the victims must live with the consequences of this negligence for years to come and suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Consequently, to avoid the nursing home abuse anguish, we must report abuse whenever it happens.

These people are often in a fragile state as they age, and they need all the help possible so that their caretakers can help them out of these situations. In addition, nursing centers should be held accountable for abuse or neglect against their patients. 

Through professional medical advice, nursing home patients can avoid the pain and agony of nursing home abuse. These tips will help you to decide whether a facility fosters good community living is up to your standards:

  • Ask the family doctor about their experience with the nursing homes in the area 
  • Check online reviews from former patients about their experiences. Most likely, those who suffered abuse or neglect will be more inclined to leave a review than people who had positive experiences
  • Visit the nursing home yourself and try to speak with at least three residents before making your decision

Look for clean facilities in an organized environment with helpful staff members that make eye contact when answering questions or speaking to you. Looking eye to eye shows that they care about their patients and are willing to go the extra mile.

If you get a bad vibe from this facility, chances are someone else will too. So do not let your loved one remain in harm's way when there is an alternative.

You can also use these tips when you speak with the nursing home administration if any issues arise:

  • Keep a journal with all of your interactions and conversations about the problems you are having. Write down when you spoke to them, what they promised to do and how they acted after receiving your complaints
  • When speaking with the staff at the facility, be clear and ask for specific promises to avoid any misunderstandings in the future. For example, if there is a loud noise in your loved one's room at night that wakes them up and causes them to get upset, ask them to do something about it
  • If you feel uncomfortable talking with administration staff, bring a family member or advocate along with you who can take notes for you or help you get out of an uncomfortable situation
  • Talk to the staff about the process of filing a complaint and where it is in the facility. Make sure you understand what will happen after filing a complaint and how long this will take
  • If you have been promised something, follow up with them after the care has been provided to ensure that they upheld their end of the deal

If you have let your loved one go to a nursing home and have been abused, we are here to help. There is no reason why your loved one should be treated in such an awful manner when they deserve the best care available.

Our team can help you act so that your family member receives the justice they deserve. Call us today to set up a free case review.

Nursing Home Resident Rights

Nursing home residents have rights. However, if you or someone you know has suffered nursing home abuse while living in a nursing home, it is important to contact the facility and report nursing home abuse as soon as possible.

At one time, the only way for nursing home patients to make their grievances known was by complaining directly to management and hoping they would fix the problem. However, in 1986, Congress passed The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA).

This law protects residents by requiring nursing centers and elderly care facilities to establish a quality assessment and assurance program (QAAP) that includes inspections of the facility's physical plant and interviews with current and former residents about conditions.

A list of standards is also included to help residents and families make an informed decision about whether to place their loved ones in a nursing home. In addition, these surveys help improve the quality of life at a nursing home facility because they can help identify and correct any physical deficiencies that prevent proper care and treatment.

However, QAAPs only occur every 15 months unless residents or families report nursing home abuse or some other violation has been found.

Report Nursing Home Abuse Through the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Do you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse? If so, contact proper authorities such as the local long-term care ombudsman program to report nursing home abuse. The goal of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is to ensure that home health agencies, assisted living facilities, and other elder care organizations are accountable for providing safe and quality Medicaid services.

Using an ombudsperson in a nursing home abuse case would be crucial because the person has no prior ties to the assisted living facility accused of wrongdoing. An impartial authority could identify problems and provide the necessary assistance to ensure that some resolution is reached.

National center studies show that about two million elderly persons suffer elder abuse in America. In addition, the National center avails emerging details about the research, nursing home care training, and ideal practices regarding elder abuse.

If you have questions about reporting nursing home abuse or want to know how an ombudsman program can help, contact our law firm today for a free legal case review. We are here to offer answers and help you get the justice your loved one deserves.

Suspected Abuse Among Nursing Home Residents

Many family members with loved ones receiving care at senior facilities suspect unverifiable nursing home abuse but are unsure how to make immediate changes using the law. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, allegations of nursing home abuse typically involve the following types:

  • Physical abuse: Use of physical restraints, slapping, pinching, hair-pulling, and rough handling
  • Sexual abuse: Non-consensual sexual contact or attention
  • Emotional abuse: Threatening, insulting, and ignoring a patient
  • Verbal/Psychological Abuse: Yelling, cursing threats to cause fear, and mental distress
  • Neglect: Failure to provide food, shelter, medical care, supervision, and sanitary conditions
  • Financial abuse: Illegal or improper use of an elder's financial resources at home, nursing centers, and assisted living facilities

According to the AARP, nearly 1 in 10 U.S. seniors (2 million) have been victims of some form of elder abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated or abused, it is important to report suspected abuse to the proper authorities quickly for assistance.

Make Your Opinion Known

Do you suspect that your elderly close relative is suffering elder abuse or neglect at a nursing home? If so, report it immediately to the state licensing and certifying agency listed on the facility's 3-B forms, as well as filing an incident report with local law enforcement agencies.

Currently, it is important to determine if elder abuse is occurring due to negligence or intentional acts of wrongdoing. Some examples of neglect include housing residents in dirty, dark rooms and bathrooms with poor lighting.

This type of nursing home abuse may also include the lack of proper supervision where a resident is assaulted by another individual who should be monitored closely. Another example includes facilities that do not provide proper nourishment and hydration for each patient.

Ensuring nursing home patient's safety is crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Reporting abuse to a state survey agency to enable it to investigate complaints not only helps your loved one but others who are victims of nursing home abuse.

Can Nursing Homes Be Sued for Negligence?

When placing a loved one in a nursing home facility, families assume that they will be treated with respect, dignity and accorded good health services. In addition, nursing homes are expected to provide a safe living environment that provides high-quality health care for each patient.

Unfortunately, not all nursing home facilities adhere to these standards, resulting in serious physical injuries, malnutrition, or even death for their patients. In addition, any harm in the nursing home could result in the facility being sued for elder abuse.

Do you suspect that your loved one suffered an injury or illness because of neglect from a nursing home facility? If so, speak with an attorney immediately so they can gather the evidence necessary to prove elder abuse and win your case.

False Allegations of Abuse in a Long-Term Care Facility

It can be more common than you think for nursing home facilities to accuse their patients of committing abusive acts against other patients and staff members. If you have been accused of performing an act that seems out of character or uncharacteristic, it is vital to gather evidence immediately to defend yourself in court.

Nursing homes are not required to immediately report allegations of nursing home abuse against their senior patients or the staff. Also, if you have been accused of abusing another patient, the facility may not report abuse to the authorities for days or weeks following an incident.

In some cases, facilities may fabricate a story about what occurred to cover up negligence on their part that resulted in the injury of a patient. Their defense might not include failing to administer medication or ignoring requests for necessary medical care properly.

If you have been accused of causing harm against another patient or staff member, contact our law firm immediately so that evidence can be collected in your defense.

Are Nursing Homes Liable for Assault and Battery?

Nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable in society. They rely on health care workers and staff to provide them with the best chance of living a healthy lifestyle without interruption, but not all facilities have properly trained individuals working for them.

If you have a situation where you are being accused of nursing home abuse, it is important to work with an attorney who understands the laws and can help determine if your loved one was falsely accused.

Many different situations could lead to your family member being wrongly accused, and you need someone who knows what steps to take next on your behalf.

Taking Action to Protect Your Rights

When placing a loved one in a nursing home, families often assume that their loved ones will be cared for with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, many long-term care facilities operate under the assumption that elderly patients cannot report abuse about their treatment and do not take the necessary steps to ensure that they adhere to basic standards related to patient care.

Families must act if there are any warning signs of neglect or abuse because the facility will often attempt to cover up their negligence and not inform authorities about their wrongdoing. For this reason, you must work with a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer who understands how to hold negligent facilities accountable for injuries and losses suffered by their patients.

Nursing homes are held responsible for providing care at an equitable level to the care they provide others in similar situations. Do you suspect your loved one suffered an injury or illness because of neglectful behavior? If so, you can hold the facility accountable for its actions and demand financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other losses.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

The Nursing Home Abuse Center estimates that as many as 1,619 residents die each year from nursing home abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, many of these cases are never reported because it can be difficult for family members to recognize warning signs of elder abuse, or they may fear retaliation from nursing home staff.

An attorney can help identify what is going on to take legal action and stop the nursing home abuse immediately! 

  • Investigation: Your lawyer will start by gathering information related to the event, including any treatment reports and witness statements from the staff at the facility. These documents are needed to build a strong case against the nursing home that neglected your loved one's needs.
  • Interviewing Witnesses: In many cases, living facilities have multiple employees working at any given time who could provide valuable information about the situation. Therefore, it is critical to gather witness statements and document their accounts of what occurred.
  • Recording Damages: To build a strong case against negligent nursing homes, your lawyer will work with you to determine how much compensation you can receive and your goals for the case. By having documentation of damages, you increase your chances of getting full and fair compensation that is equitable to the level of care the facility provided to others.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Negligent nursing homes could be held accountable for their actions by filing a civil claim if they neglected to provide proper care in a situation where your family member was injured or died.

Your lawyer will take the following steps when building your case:

  • Interviewing Your Loved One: It is important to talk with your loved ones about what happened and be sure that they are comfortable sharing details with an attorney. Then, if you feel like something inappropriate occurred, your lawyer will be able to advocate on their behalf while they cannot speak for themselves.
  • Gathering Evidence: Documentation of the event and evidence that shows how the treatment was different than what is provided to others at the facility goes a long way toward establishing negligence. One example is if there were no warnings given before administering medication.
  • Gathering Medical Records: Your lawyer needs to have complete and thorough information about your loved one's injuries or illness so that they can build a case around their medical treatment.
  • Locating and Interviewing Witnesses: Staff members at the facility may provide valuable insight into what caused the event, how staff members acted during the incident, and whether other patients were provided with similar care.
  • Negotiating An Agreement: Your lawyer will try to resolve your case through mediation or arbitration before heading to court so that you can avoid trial and ensure the nursing home will be held accountable for its negligence.
  • Going To Trial: In some cases, a settlement cannot be reached, or the defendant refuses to cooperate. For this reason, it is important to have a skilled nursing home abuse attorney on your side who will work with you to file a civil claim and take the case before a judge.
Use a Personal Injury Attorney to Report Nursing Home Abuse

Has your loved one suffered abuse at the hands of nurses, doctors, nurses' aides? Call us at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for a free legal case review.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee arrangements. This promise ensures that no upfront payments are made until the case is resolved through a negotiated trial or jury verdict.

Resources: Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

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After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric