Preventing Nursing Home Abuse
It is normal to assume that the staff at a nursing home facility will all have their residents’ best interests in mind. Unfortunately, some do not fully adhere to caregiving guidelines, and a few are even intentionally cruel. Abuse and neglect at these facilities should be identified and rooted out before serious harm comes to a resident. You do not need to wait for physical injuries to appear before contacting a nursing home abuse attorney. A compassionate attorney from our firm could advise you on how to prevent nursing home abuse.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse can occur in a variety of different situations. It can take other forms beyond physical or sexual abuse. For instance, a nursing home where the staff does not abide by federal and state regulations of care and treatment would constitute abuse. Some instances of neglect that are considered abuse may include:
Abusing a resident’s economic autonomy or denying them from seeing visitors are also considered abusive actions. By understanding what behaviors may constitute abuse, an individual may be able to prevent harm from happening to their loved one in a nursing home.
The Duty of Care Owed by Facility Staff
There are federal and state regulations that apply to nursing homes, including a Nursing Home Patient’s Bill of Rights. This law states the facilities must have a certain number of nurses per patient, the staff must spend a minimum number of hours per day with each patient, and the patients are to be free from financial exploitation.
In addition, there are nursing standards that facility caregivers and staff must adhere to as a general principle that are not specifically named in any federal or state regulations. An attorney could provide families with a guideline of what a proper standard of care for their elderly loved ones should consist of to prevent abuse.
Responsible Parties in Nursing Home Abuse
Most people involved with patient care or administration at a nursing home have the potential to be at-fault parties in nursing home abuse cases. The issues can be as narrow as inadequate physical therapy or a doctor who carried out a procedure incorrectly. These also can be as broad as the nursing home failing to adequately staff the facility, thereby putting residents at risk. In order to prevent against abuse, it is important that nursing home facilities carefully vet these employees to check for proper education and any previous record of neglect.
The defendants commonly seen in these cases are nursing home administrators, facility owners, directors, nurses, home aides, therapists, wound care or infectious disease specialists, and primary care doctors. In certain incidents, claimant can name multiple people as defendants.
Role of an Attorney in Preventing Serious Care Facility Abuse
One way that a lawyer may be able to help prevent nursing home abuse is by using the information they have and giving it to a concerned family, especially if there is an ongoing issue with their loved one’s specific facility. Legal professionals have access to investigatory resources like the Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office which is a state agency that oversees long-term care facilities.
Lawyers also have private investigators that can dig into various issues. Many law firms have an interactive page on their website that provides some information about the various rankings of care facilities in the area, Medicare issues, and how local nursing homes perform on certain objective criteria. These tools can assist families in learning which nursing homes tend to provide better care and which of them are in the middle of dealing with lawsuits. A local attorney can be a great resource for finding the right facility for a loved one, and could pursue a claim against a facility if their negligence caused harm.
What Should Someone Do if They Suspect Nursing Home Neglect is Occurring?
People concerned about the conduct at their loved one’s nursing facility should document or record as much as possible, including video of incidents and photographs of wounds.
The providers at nursing homes have what are called “care plans” where they meet with all the members of the care team: nurses, therapists, doctors, et cetera. Families are allowed to participate in those care plan meetings to go over concerns, and it is possible to request a transfer to another facility.
People can also contact the Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office, which is an organization that can investigate and issue sanctions.
Hire an Attorney to Learn More About Preventing Nursing Home Abuse
The best way to protect your family from an abusive nursing home situation is to do the research beforehand. You can utilize numerous resources to find a facility with a good record and then familiarize yourself with the staff so there is an open line of communication. A skilled attorney who works nursing home abuse cases could also advise on preventative measures. If your loved one has suffered abuse, or you have a suspicion that it might be happening, call Tittle & Perlmuter immediately to discuss preventing nursing home abuse.