Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

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 What is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes are long-term care facilities where elderly individuals can live and receive the medical care and supervision that they require. Nursing homes usually provide care to individuals who have chronic illnesses and cannot take care of themselves but do not require intensive care or supervision.

For example, individuals who are confined to wheelchairs or beds and cannot do certain things, such as going to the bathroom, feeding themselves, or taking their pills, may benefit from a nursing home.

What Governs the Regulation of Nursing Homes?

A nursing home is subject to both federal laws and the laws of the state. The federal government passed the Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987.

This act was designed to ensure that nursing home residents were provided with quality care. This act established what services a nursing home would be required to provide as well as the standard for these services, including:

  • Nursing, pharmaceutical, and rehabilitation services;
  • Regular assessments of residents’ health; and
  • Complete care plans for each resident.

What is the Nursing Home Resident’s Bill of Rights?

In addition to the issues discussed above, the Nursing Home Reform Act established the Nursing Home Resident’s Bill of Rights, including:

  • The right to be free from abuse;
  • The right to privacy;
  • The right to make complaints against the home without facing discrimination; and
  • The right to be treated with dignity.

What is Nursing Home Negligence?

In some situations, a nursing home patient may be injured as a result of nursing home negligence. This occurs when staff, employees, or other nursing home personnel at the nursing home fail to exercise the duty of care that is owed to the patients and residents at the nursing home facility.

In many situations, this includes neglect and abuse of the patients at the facility. For a nursing home facility to be held liable for neglect and abuse, the employee’s actions must have been the direct and proximate cause of the resident’s injury.

There must also be calculable damages, such as a broken bone treated at a hospital. Nursing home negligence may also include other issues, for example:

  • Failing to respond to the requests or complaints of the patient;
  • Failing to provide medication or food at the required time;
  • Leaving the patient unattended, especially if that patient requires special supervision;
  • Not screening the patient’s visitors;
  • Direct abuse of the patient;
  • Negligence concerning:
    • clothing changes;
    • baths; and
    • other duties;
  • Failure to keep premises reasonably safe and free of hazards; or
  • Negligent hiring of employees.

Negligence in a nursing home setting may occur due to numerous different factors, including:

  • Understaffing;
  • Employees who are working too many hours or too many shifts;
  • Failure to inform employees of state and federal health and safety standards; and
  • Miscommunication between employees.

A nursing home lawyer will be familiar with the laws of the state as well as what type of claim an individual may have for their loved one.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

There are millions of elderly individuals who reside in nursing homes throughout the country. These individuals depend upon others for basic care, including water, food, and clothing.

However, numerous nursing homes with insufficient and poorly trained staff contribute to the growing problem of nursing home abuse.

What Are Some Common Types of Abuse?

Common types of nursing home abuse, especially long-term care abuse, may include the following:

  • Failure to provide adequate:
    • food;
    • water; or
    • medicine;
  • Failure to protect the elderly from safety hazards; or
  • Assault, battery, rape, or any other unwanted physical contact.

What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?

There are a few tell-tale signs of nursing home abuse or elder abuse, including:

  • Bruises, bedsores, or other injuries;
  • Excessive weight loss;
  • Dehydration; and
  • Unclean conditions.

If an individual fears that they or their loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or that the nursing home has violated the Nursing Home Reform Act, they should contact the nursing home administrator and make a complaint. An individual should also contact their state agency about the violation.

An individual may also hire an attorney to sue the nursing home for damages.

What Can I Do to Stop the Abuse?

There are numerous steps an individual, either the resident or a loved one, can take to stop nursing home abuse. An individual can file a complaint for abuse or neglect with local law enforcement.

Law enforcement may conduct a criminal investigation into nursing home abuse claims. An individual may also contact their local protective services agency to begin an investigation.

The local protective agency typically falls under the State Department of Health. An individual may also file a lawsuit requesting compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Damages are awarded as monetary compensation for the injuries the resident suffered resulting from the abuse or neglect. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where a defendant engaged in outrageous conduct and is necessary to deter future similar behavior.

Nursing home abuse is a troublesome area of personal injury law. A lawyer will advise the individual and their loved one of their rights and advise the best course of action against the nursing home.

What is a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?

A nursing home abuse lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in cases that involve nursing home abuse. Nursing home abuse is a subcategory of the body of law known as elder care laws.

A nursing home abuse attorney can review your claims, determine if the nursing home may be liable for damages, and assist an individual with filing a lawsuit. It is important to have a lawyer to help care for elderly loved ones who cannot care for themselves.

Can a Nursing Home be Held Liable for the Actions of its Employees?

An employer can typically be held liable for the actions of its employees while they are at work. The nursing home is most likely liable if an employee injures an individual or their loved one while on duty.

This is accomplished under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, Latin for “let the superior answer.” Respondeat superior is a theory that holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees.

Employers will generally be held liable for the actions of their employees if the employee was:

  • Performing their job duties;
  • Carrying out company business; or
  • Otherwise acting on behalf of their employer when an incident takes place.

How Can I Be Sure that My Relative Receives Adequate Care?

There are numerous steps relatives can take to prevent nursing home abuse, including:

  • Asking questions. When choosing a nursing home, an individual should be vigilant in determining what services the nursing home provides;
  • Checking the elderly individual for weight loss, bedsores, etc.; and
  • Frequent visits.

Should I Contact a Lawyer if I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is a difficult and troublesome area of the law. If you or a loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, it is best to consult with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.

Your attorney can help you understand your rights and help you choose the best course of action against the nursing home. Because many different issues may be included in these types of cases, including needing medical testimony to prove the abuse and having knowledge of employment law to hold an employer liable, having an attorney handling your case is likely your best chance at receiving compensation for you or your loved one’s injuries.

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