Grandmother praying inside her room

Nursing Home Injuries/Neglect

young physiotherapist exercising with elder disabled personYou made the tough decision a while back when you realized your loved one needed long-term care and supervision. Then, you found what you thought was best nursing home or long-term care facility that would see to your loved one’s needs and care.

What do you do now to make sure that he or she is getting the right care and is not being mistreated or abused? There are different kinds of abuse that you need to look out for, and you need to know some things that you can do if you find that your loved one is being abused.

Types of Abuse

There are a number of ways that a resident-patient of a nursing home or care facility can be abused. Under federal law, your loved one has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse.

In addition, care facilities can’t subject him or her to corporal punishment-that is, physical contact with the body designed to inflict pain, like “spanking,” for example. Nor can facilities use involuntary seclusion, or “solitary confinement.”

“Neglect” can be a form of abuse. Neglect can take on a variety of forms, including the failure to:

  • Provide clean and adequate clothing
  • Provide medical care for both physical and mental health needs
  • Protect the resident from health and safety hazards
  • Protect an individual from abuse from other residents
  • Prevent malnutrition and dehydration

When you visit your loved one, make sure the bathroom is clean, check for odors in the bed and on his or her clothing, pay attention to unexplained weight loss, and look to make sure his her hair and nails are clean. Also, pay attention to changes in behavior: is he or she more quiet than usual or seem depressed?

Though technically not “abuse,” a home or facility can’t misappropriate your loved one’s money or property or allow other residents to do so. Based on state guidelines, facilities must place resident funds in interest-bearing accounts and be able to provide a full accounting of the funds deposited. A nursing home cannot require a resident to deposit his or her funds with the nursing home in order to obtain care.

What the Home and State Must Do

A nursing home or care facility must develop and implement policies to protect residents from abuse. The policies must provide for the adequate screening, training and supervising of employees, as well how to identify, investigate, and report abuse.

A facility must ensure that all alleged violations involving mistreatment, neglect, or abuse, including injuries of unknown source and misappropriation of resident property, are reported immediately to the administrator of the facility and to other officials in the manner detailed by the laws of the state where the facility is located.

The state must investigate all allegations of resident abuse and neglect and misappropriation of resident property. If misconduct in fact occurred, the state must report the findings to the wrongdoer, the home’s administrator and, if applicable, the board of nursing, nurse aide registry or other appropriate state agency.

It is critical that you report immediately any abuse, or suspected abuse or mistreatment, to the administrator of the home or facility. He or she must investigate the matter. If you’re not satisfied with the response, then contact the adult protective service in your state, or your local area agency on aging.

A nursing home can’t stop you from visiting or evict your loved one simply because you reported abuse. However, the home can set reasonable “visiting hours,” and your loved one retains the right to refuse visits from particular persons, except his or her doctor and state or local officials.

Contact The Law Offices of Kim Parker, P.A., to discuss your options.


Example of Nursing Home Misconduct

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