Perhaps you’ve come to the realization that your loved one is being mistreated or abused in a nursing home. Depending on the severity of the issue, you may attempt to resolve things directly with the facility. Voicing a concern to a supervisor or administrator at a facility can rectify most issues quickly.
Depending on the severity of the issue, you may not feel comfortable addressing the mistreatment with staff at the facility. In these circumstances, the most efficient way to address these concerns are with state and local entities. The state agencies have more localized people that can be mobilized relatively quickly to address problems at a skilled nursing facility. Again, depending on the severity of the issue, you may wish to contact a local advocacy network, State Ombudsman, or State Department of Health. Of course, if you believe you’re loved one’s safety or health is facing an immediate threat; you should contact the local police.
Contacting a Department of Health and filing a complaint related to the care provided can trigger an investigation into the matter by State Nursing Home Surveyors or inspectors. When an agency deems an issue to be significant, they will send a surveyor to the facility that will access the patient’s medical records and discuss the care with staff at the facility. Look at the left-hand column of this site and you can navigate to each state’s department of health and other relevant links. For example, take a look at our Illinois nursing home page.
Upon review of the material the State Department of Health will likely issue a report that will rule on if the complaint is substantiated or not. If there is a finding of a care-related violation, the State has the capacity to issue fines or take further actions—including removing patients from the facility if safety threat is substantiated.
Initiating a complaint against a facility may feel intimidating, but doing so is an important part of the process of ensuring both your loved one and other patients at the facility are treated with the care and respect the law provides for them. You can access the contact information for State Department’s of Health and local ombudsmen via the state pages on our website.
Taking Independent Legal Action for Abusive Care
In addition to having the legal rights to report abusive care to agencies, you may also have the right to pursue a claim for compensation related to a specific abusive act or ongoing neglect. A civil lawsuit premised on nursing home abuse, allows an individual or their family to recover financial compensation for injuries or a fatality related to improper care the facility. We invite you to contact our nursing home abuse attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center for a free consultation to discuss your situation and options from a civil damages perspective.