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Nursing Home Abuse


Our population is aging. Presently, more than 1.5 million people live in nursing homes. Although some nursing homes provide excellent care, others are either incapable or unwilling to honor their commitments to their residents.

Nursing homes are often inadequately staffed and the employees are poorly trained. When a nursing home fails to provide treatment, care, goods or services necessary to preserve a resident’s health, safety, or welfare, and the resident suffers injury, the facility may be negligent.

Examples of nursing home negligence include:

  • Failure to provide food or water or failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration.
  • Failure to assist in personal hygiene.
  • Failure to provide safe, clean and decent living conditions.
  • Failure to provide adequate treatment and services for incontinent residents.
  • Failure to provide appropriate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents.
  • Failure to provide adequate medical care, acquire and dispense proper medications, as well as failure to ensure that residents are free from serious medication errors.
  • Failure to prevent a resident from developing pressure sores; or, if a resident already has pressure sores, failure to provide proper treatment to promote healing.

Nursing homes that receive federal funds through Medicare or Medicaid must comply with federal laws that require the home to provide a high quality of care.

If you’ve been hurt in a nursing home, you want a lawyer that understands the types of injuries caused by understaffing, neglect, and other dangerous factors.

Injuries from nursing home abuse are often severe and may include:

  • Bedsores
  • Dehydration
  • Elopement
  • Malnutrition
  • Mental Abuse
  • Physical Abuse
  • Restraints
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Slip & Fall
  • Wandering

You may have a family member or a loved one who is currently in a nursing home. These formerly independent and self-sufficient men and women are now totally dependent for their daily needs on the nursing home staff and administration where they live. Plus, this assisted care may cost as much as $40,000 all the way up to $100,000 per year. Patients in nursing homes deserve the best care, but often they do not receive the care they deserve.

When the federal government passed the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, nursing home residents were guaranteed certain rights:

  • To be free from verbal, mental and physical abuse; corporal punishment; and involuntary seclusion.
  • To be free from verbal, mental and physical abuse; corporal punishment; and involuntary seclusion.
  • To be free from restraints – both chemical and physical – except as authorized in writing by a doctor for a specified and limited time period or when necessary to protect the resident or other residents from injury.
  • To have safe, decent, and clean conditions.
  • To be treated with consideration, respect, and full recognition of dignity and individuality, including privacy in treatment and care of personal needs.
  • To be fully informed by a doctor of his or her medical condition, unless the doctor decides that informing the patient would be against the patient’s best interests, and to participate in the planning of medical treatment.
  • To refuse medical treatment as permitted by law and to be informed of the consequences of refusing medical treatment.
  • To refuse to participate in experimental research.
  • To have personal medical records treated in strict confidence.
  • To have established daily visiting hours.
  • To have visitation by an ombudsman, personal physician, family members, and all individuals that provide health, social, legal, or other services who wish to visit.
  • To retain personal possessions and clothing as space permits, so long as doing so would not complicate a medical condition or infringe on another resident’s rights.
  • To participate in and meet with social, religious, and community groups.
  • To send and receive personal, unopened mail.
  • To associate and communicate privately with other individuals as desired.
  • To manage personal financial affairs or to delegate that task to another person of the resident’s choosing.
  • To be fully informed of available services and related charges.
  • To be encouraged and assisted to exercise rights as a patient and as a citizen and to voice grievances and recommend changes in policies and services to staff members or outside representatives without interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.
  • Not to be required to perform services for the nursing home that are not included in the resident’s plan of care.
  • If married, to be assured of privacy during spousal visits. If both spouses are residents of the nursing home, to be permitted to share a room, if medically feasible.
  • To be transferred or discharged only for medical reasons, or for the resident’s own welfare or the welfare of other residents, or for nonpayment (except as prohibited by Medicaid), and to be given reasonable advance notice of transfer or discharge.
  • To be fully informed, as evidenced by a written acknowledgment, prior to or at the time of admission and during the stay, of all these rights and all rules and nursing home regulations that govern personal conduct and responsibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a nursing home be held responsible for a resident’s injury if negligence is found?

Yes. Nursing homes are held accountable to similar standards of care that you would expect from any hospital or other health care facility. Nursing homes can be held liable for negligence, and you can seek financial compensation for damages suffered because of that negligence to you, a family member, or a loved one.

How prevalent is understaffing?

Very prevalent. A recent congressional report shows that more than half (54 percent) of American nursing homes are understaffed. Understaffing leads to nursing home neglect and abuse, including increases in bedsores and malnutrition and dehydration.

How much is my Nursing Home abuse claim worth?

Each case is different and dependent on its own facts. It is impossible to answer such a question until the injured person has finished medical treatment.

How long will it take to settle my claim?

Each case is different and is dependent up on its unique facts. It’s difficult to even venture a guess without a thorough knowledge of the facts of the case, the injuries, and the parties involved. Generally, the more complicated the case, the longer it takes to settle. Also, the settlement process can’t even begin until the injured person’s medical treatment is finished. The cost of the medical treatment will figure into the settlement.

If you are concerned that a loved one is being abused or neglected while in a nursing home, you should contact Edward M Bernstein & Associates for a free consultation. Contact us online request or call our office at 702-240-0000.

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