The article below was found in Lawyers and Settlements.com. It is very informative regarding types of elder abuse, signs of neglect, and what laws are available to protect your loved ones if the unthinkable happens. As our parents and grandparents grow older, we may face the decision to place them into assisted living or even skilled nursing care facilities. It is an extremely stressful and guilt producing time for everyone involved. They do not go there to die. Rather, the elderly should be cared for and allowed to live out the rest of their lives fully. Sadly, with low Medicare rates and a bad economy, there are often too few staff to give proper care, and elderly residents fall, break hips, become dehydrated or malnourished, develop bed sores, and even die prematurely. If you suspect your loved one is being neglected or worse, secure their safety first. Move them to a different facility if you can. Then, call an experienced nursing home abuse attorney and let’s look at what can be done to protect your family. Compare our attorneys’ credentials and experience to any other law firm.
At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, all of our attorneys are seasoned trial lawyers with over 70 years combined experience. Whether it is criminal or civil, our litigators are regularly in Court fighting for our clients. Two of our firm’s partners, Art Aiken and Robert Reeves, are lifetime members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Mr. Reeves has also been named one of the Top 100 lawyers for South Carolina in 2012 by the National Trial Lawyers Organization. Our attorneys include a former SC prosecutor, a former public defender, a former NC District Attorney intern, a former Registered Nurse (RN), and former insurance defense attorneys. As a result of their varied backgrounds, they understand the criminal, insurance defense, and medical aspects of complex cases. We welcome an opportunity to sit down and personally review your case. Call us today for a private consultation. www.rjrlaw.com
Elder Care and Nursing Home Abuse
|You may have gone to great lengths and expense to find the right elder care facility or nursing home for a member of your family or someone you know. It is a traumatic and difficult decision to place someone in a nursing home and you can only hope that they will receive the best possible care. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is more prevalent than you might think. Often, due to a shortage of staff or staff that has not been adequately trained, the best nursing home care is not always readily available, and nursing home residents become victims of the “hidden crime.”
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home residents often require constant attention, and may not be able to communicate nursing home abuse or neglect from their caregivers. And they are unaware of elder care law. Nursing home neglect is often unreported because it isn’t always physical abuse. Emotional, psychological, and financial abuse or exploitation is all too frequent.Institutional entities include skilled nursing facility (SNF) or homes, foster homes, group homes, and board and care facilities. Abusers may be staff members, other patients and even visitors.If a staff member refuses to allow family or friends to see the resident or insists on being present during the visit, it is possible that abuse is taking place. Other examples of abuse are:
Some Signs of abuse are:
Emotional: behavior and/or personality changes; withdrawn and uncommunicative; dementia; depression; anxiety and agitation.
Physical: Unexplained accident or injury; Decubitus Ulcers (Bedsores); Frozen joints; Contractures; Brittle bones or Fracture; Muscle atrophy; Burns; Fearfulness; Broken eyeglasses; Rapid, unexplained weight loss; Unwarranted use of physical restraints
Sexual: Unexplained venereal disease;Genital infections;Vaginal or anal bleeding;Torn or stained underclothing;Bruising around breasts, upper abdomen, or inner thighs
Nursing Home and Elder Law
By law, nursing homes must provide care to maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psycho-social well-being of each resident. Federal and state laws were designed to protect nursing home residents and the abuse or neglect that occurs there and in other assisted living facilities. Many states also require that nursing homes meet individual state standards relating to the type and quality of care required.
Failure to comply with elder law has resulted in abuse that in turn caused illness, discomfort and death. This abuse is often referred to as “institutional abuse”.
State Elder Law
Most states have addressed the institutional abuse issue with laws that require doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to report suspected neglect to a designated state office. Laws further require nursing homes to investigate and report any abuse incidents that occur within their facility. Physicians, hospitals, nurses, therapists, aides, orderlies and administrators must provide adequate care, medical treatment and protection to the residents and patients in their facility.
State laws typically require a nursing home to be licensed in order to operate, provides for annual inspections, sets up a procedure for handling complaints, prohibits discrimination, and imposes sanctions for violation, such as licensure suspension and revocation. The state regulatory agency investigates any reports of alleged abuse or violations.
Federal Elder Law
In 1987, the federal government passed the Nursing Home Reform Act (NRA), and nursing homes that receive federal funds must comply with the act. The NRA sets standards for care, establishes a list of rights for residents, such as the right to be treated with dignity and to exercise self-determination, sets up a monitoring system for nursing homes, and specifies sanctions for non-compliance. The Act covers resident care and rights, staffing, the quality of care, restraints, privacy, and record keeping. The law applies to all the various types of nursing homes who receive funds under Medicaid or Medicare programs.
Under the Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes must also do the following in order to meet the basic tenet of the Act:
In 2008, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General released a report detailing the “Trends in Nursing Home Deficiencies and Complaints” that showed over 90 percent of that nation’s nursing homes were cited for federal violations from 2005-2007. The most common deficiency categories cited in each of the past 3 years were quality of care, resident assessment, and quality of life.
The report also showed a greater percentage of For-Profit nursing homes were cited for deficiencies than non-for-profit and government nursing homes from 2005-2007.