When we select a nursing home or assisted living facility for our loved ones, we trust they are going to be taken care of and hope that the staff will treat them the way we would. Sadly, that does not always happen. The facility may be understaffed, or the staff on duty may not be sufficiently trained. Other times, the nursing home or assisted living facility will not properly screen employees, and those who are not fit to care for often-vulnerable residents end up in charge of their well being.
When this happens, your loved one can become a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. Although nursing home abuse appears more in newspapers and on the news, neglect is just as dangerous and far more prevalent.
To help protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect, federal and state laws guarantee that nursing home residents have specific rights that a care facility must respect and work to preserve. These rights include:
- Civil and religious liberty
- Private and uncensored communication, including:
- Sending and receiving unopened mail
- Unfettered telephone access
- Freedom to visit with any person the resident chooses during visiting hours, which must be flexible
- Overnight visits without risk of losing a bed
- Access to health, social, legal, or other service professionals of the residents’ choice
- Access to government representatives and immediate family members independent of visiting hours
- The right to present grievances about the nursing home and care provided
- The right to organize and participate in social and religious groups
- The right to examine the services available at the facility and the charges for all services
- The right to be adequately informed about his or her medical condition and make decisions about medical treatment, including the right to refuse treatment
- The right to be transferred only for medical reasons or for the welfare of other residents, and, in Medicaid or Medicare certified facilities, the right to challenge a discharge or transfer
- The right to retain and use personal clothing
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect is often a form of medical malpractice in which your loved one receives inadequate or even dangerous care. In some cases, this neglect arises from the facility owner placing profit above quality care. In recent years, investment companies have been buying up nursing homes and attempting to make them more profitable. The number of staff and the wages they’re paid may be more strictly controlled. Sometimes more highly-paid staff members who have a greater level of qualification, such as registered nurses and certified dieticians, are replaced with less experienced and trained employees.
Nursing home neglect can have many dangerous consequences for your loved ones, including:
- Bedsores that progress to deep physical wounds and/or dangerous infections
- Medication errors or lack of medication
- Excessive medication (sometimes known as “chemical restraints”)
- Slip and fall accidents
- Lack of socialization leading to depression
- Elder abuse from other nursing home residents
If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect, please contact our nursing home neglect lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation. Jacoby & Meyers has offices nationwide.