Nursing home and assisted living facility patients, who are typically of the elderly population, deserve safe, effective health care. Unfortunately, elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes are more common than you might expect, and sadly, are often at the hands of those entrusted to protect our elderly loved ones from harm.
Those patients most
vulnerable to neglect and abuse are those with no family or friends involved in
their care, those too frail or who suffer from ailments that prevent them from
reporting abuse or neglect; and those fearful of repercussions if they speak
out against nursing home staff. Patients and their families might not realize
the law is on their side.
Elderly patients have rights under the Nursing Home Reform Act
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) established a minimum standard of care for all patients receiving care in nursing home facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid. The regulations set out under the NHRA require nursing homes to, among other things:
- Have sufficient nursing staff
- Develop a comprehensive care plan for each resident
- Prevent the deterioration of a resident’s ability to bathe, dress, groom, transfer and ambulate, toilet, eat and to communicate
- Ensure that residents do not develop pressure/bed sores and, if a resident has pressure sores, provide the necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection, and prevent new sores from developing
- Ensure that the residents receive adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents
- Provide each resident with sufficient fluid intake to maintain proper hydration and health
- Ensure that residents are free of any significant medication errors
When medical assistance turns from compassionate to cruel or neglectful, the consequences can be devastating for both the patients and their families. The attorneys at Thomas & Wickenheiser work to alleviate some of the stress and worry by taking suspicions of abuse and neglect seriously and helping clients notify the proper authorities to investigate the situation. Our goal is to ensure nursing home patients receive the care they are entitled to and pursue compensation for injuries suffered at the hands of negligent or malevolent staff.
One incident of abuse or neglect usually represents a pattern of behavior and exposing those incidents can prevent others from being victimized.