The Nursing Home Reform Act and the Residents’ Bill of Rights

Posted by on Dec 29, 2016 in Nursing Home Abuse | 0 comments

When an act of abuse or negligence that is committed in a nursing home results to harm to a patient or resident elder, the injured individual or his/her family can pursue legal action to hold legally responsible the person who committed the act, the owner and/or operator of the facility, and probably even the state Health Board.

Negligence is failure to use reasonable care that results to damage or injury to another. When committed in a nursing home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines it as “failure by a caregiver or other responsible person to protect an elder from harm, or the failure to meet needs for essential medical care, nutrition, hydration, hygiene, clothing, basic activities of daily living or shelter, which results in a serious risk of compromised health and safety.”

The most common types of nursing home neglect include: lack of proper care; failure to properly manage medication; isolation; Failure to maintain adequate health and safety policies, and keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards; and delayed treatment of residents who fall or injure themselves. These acts are most rampant and widespread in facilities that are understaffed and where there is negligent hiring of employees (due to this specific fault, even individuals with records of abuse get hired as nursing aides or registered/licensed nurses – the very persons who are guilty of unjust and cruel acts against nursing home patients and residents).

Families of nursing homes residents (which include elders, usually 65 years old; individuals who, because of an illness, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, require extra care and assistance; and, those needing rehabilitation therapies) should know that they are empowered by the law to file a lawsuit against perpetrators of abuse or neglect. This right is established in the Nursing Home Reform Act which was made a federal law by the U.S. Congress in 1997. This Act specifically addresses facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to provide services and activities that will help attain or maintain the highest possible physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of every resident in accordance with a written plan of care. The Act also mandates that residents should be free from corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion and all forms of abuses, including, but not limited to, verbal, physical, mental abuse, and sexual abuse.

Other than being designed to prevent incidences of nursing home neglect and abuse, the Act also addresses important issues, such as sufficiency of staffing, individual patient assessment, and assurance of hygiene and nutrition. Furthermore, it establishes the “Residents’ Bill of Rights,” which is a list of residents’ rights, especially in the face of neglect and/or abuse.

The federal law, even state laws, do not and will neither tolerate nor excuse acts of negligence of nursing home staff. Any act, be it abuse or negligence, can be a federal offense. Many nursing home facility current and former employees have already been put behind bars; it depends on families of abused or neglected residents to make their own legal move which, hopefully, will punish the guilty and save others from becoming future victims.

Read More

Mistrusting Authority: When Institutions Don’t Deliver Proper Care

Posted by on Sep 8, 2013 in Medical Malpractice, Nursing Home Abuse, Personal Injury | 0 comments

There are many ways for patients to take control of their health. Prudent dietary planning and regular fitness activity are two methods many people adhere to in order to maintain mental and physical equanimity. In spite of how well the body is taken care of, genetic or external factors can render a body in need of medical attention. Many patients feel disempowered when they entrust themselves to a doctor. This is not surprising as one of the main human fears is “the unknown.”

Most patients can surpass the fear of the unknown and have confidence that their chosen physician has valuable knowledge that can help them, according to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®. Sadly, sometimes people entrust themselves to the care of physicians that do not practice medicine responsibly. Medical negligence can take many forms. Common forms of medical malpractice are misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, improper treatment, surgical errors, emergency room errors, pharmaceutical errors, and birth injuries. Lawyers can often help the victims of medical malpractice gain compensation from the doctor or hospital.

In addition to hospitals, many people entrust loved ones to nursing facilities when they can no longer support elderly family members full-time. Many nursing homes have sectors that allow for the healthier residents to live with some independence and privacy. Other more dependent residents might be recovering from surgery or suffering from long term illnesses. Since some residents are so dependent, they need attentive and compassionate caretakers that are sensitive to each specific case.

When dependent residents don’t get the care they need, the consequences can be grim. The most prevalent cases of nursing home negligence relate to accidentally switching prescriptions, under exercising, and malnutrition. Dehydration, starvation, and a lack of nutrients as strong indicators of malnutrition. Families are entitled to compensation if a loved one has suffered from negligence in a nursing home.

Additionally, property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises free from hazardous situations. An egregious failure to do so, such as allowing a leak to persist for days or not fixing a cracked or uneven floor can creates a dangerous situation that can lead to preventable injuries. A danger like a pot hole can injure a cyclist or motorcyclist who drives over it, or even damage a car. As pointed out on Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, such hazards are the property owner’s responsibility to repair. This area of law is called premises liability, and it can be complicated to figure out exactly who is at fault when these cases arise. Nevertheless, an attorney can help you determine the who hurt you and do most of the legwork in a premises liability lawsuit.

Read More