New Federal Standards for Nursing Home CareNursing Home Abuse
There are 1.2 million seniors in nursing homes throughout the United States, and this number is only increasing. Despite many nursing home facilities receiving federal funds, they often remain understaffed, increasing the chances of neglect, abuse, and resulting injuries.
For those who have suffered injury due to neglect or abuse in a nursing home, the devastation, both physically and mentally, is difficult to overcome. Nursing home abuse has no justification. There is never a reason for such harm and misconduct to occur to vulnerable members of our society.
Stricter standards to keep nursing homes fully staffed and funded can be key to protecting the lives of seniors. Facilities should use federal funds to ensure the well-being of residents and proper care, which involves hiring the right number of qualified people who value the lives of seniors.
President Joe Biden and the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new law to address this concern. One component of this new law is providing additional funding to support the need for both hiring and staff retention in these facilities.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, tasked with overseeing the process, will invest over $75 million in financial incentives, including tuition reimbursement while working with the private sector to improve the industry’s attractiveness.
The law does not offer this additional funding free of requirements, however. It proposes a minimum nursing staffing standard for any nursing home or facility that Medicaid or Medicare pays into.
These staffing requirements can be critical in minimizing the risk to people who suffer neglect or abuse in long-term care settings.
The law will impose significant changes for today’s nursing homes receiving increased government funding. About 75 percent of all nursing homes and long-term care facilities will need to hire additional people to meet the goals the law sets so they can continue to receive federal funds and support.
While it will take time for many facilities to meet these standards and improve care, hopefully, the new provisions will increase the health and safety of nursing home residents with time.
If your loved one suffered injuries or you otherwise suspect neglect or abuse in their nursing home, take legal action to protect them immediately. Speak with a Charleston nursing home abuse attorney immediately.
Nursing Home Neglect Is a Very Real Problem
Nursing home abuse and neglect are deeply concerning issues, and the problem is only growing in the United States. One in every six individuals aged 60 or above residing in residential community settings has encountered some form of abuse within the last year.
The majority of such incidents occur in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with over 66 percent of staff members admitting to engaging in abusive behavior in the preceding year. These distressing statistics shed light on the urgent need to address and combat elder abuse.
Holding nursing homes accountable also helps to improve conditions so facilities can avoid liability and protect their reputations.
Common types of nursing home abuse
Nursing home abuse is a distressing reality that can happen for various reasons.
Understanding the underlying causes is crucial, yet at times, why staff engage in abuse can be perplexing. Regardless of the reasons behind the abuse, standing up for the victim and seeking justice to compensate for their losses is crucial.
A dedicated nursing home abuse attorney collaborates closely with affected clients and their families, navigating through these distressing neglect and abuse scenarios to seek resolution and compensation.
Within the umbrella of nursing home abuse, several distressing forms of mistreatment commonly occur:
- Physical abuse, such as striking or otherwise hurting the victim
- Emotional abuse, including name-calling and belittling behavior
- Neglect on restroom needs
- Not providing support for personal hygiene needs
- Neglect in providing for the mental and emotional needs of the person
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Nutritional deficiencies due to not eating or eating improper food
- Not getting medical care soon enough
Each form of maltreatment takes a significant toll on the victim, causing not only physical harm but also psychological trauma, eroding trust, and severely impacting their overall well-being and quality of life.
These wrongful acts are a clear violation of the trust placed in nursing home facilities, highlighting the dire need for swift intervention and redress.
These are just some of the types of abuse that can occur, and in every situation, it can be tragic. Dedicated nursing home injury attorneys will not stand for any type of excuse for abuse. While staffing shortages can be a very real problem, that does not give anyone the right to harm another.
As a result, they stand firmly behind their clients as they pursue compensation for their losses due to these wrongful occurrences.
Signs Your Loved One is Suffering Neglect or Abuse
In numerous cases, discussing abuse, neglect, or other forms of harm is incredibly challenging. This task can be especially daunting or even impossible for individuals facing communication barriers or memory impairments.
Therefore, family members must diligently monitor the health and mental well-being of their loved ones, ensuring continual and suitable care. This proactive approach is vital for nursing home residents facing difficulties voicing their concerns due to various limitations.
Recognizing certain signs can prompt a deeper investigation into possible abuse, suggesting the need for more information and inquiries. Occasionally, these signs might indicate the pressing need to swiftly transfer your family member from their present residence.
Being attentive to the following red flags is critical, prompting immediate action.
Never hesitate to reach out to a skilled attorney for guidance if you notice:
- Visual evidence of injury, such as welts, cuts, or bruises on a person’s skin
- The development of bedsores
- Broken bones
- Withdrawing from family members or friends
- Reacting negatively to physical contact, even with family members
- Changes in personality, especially the onset of fear and anxiety
- Marks on legs or arms that may indicate someone was restraining them
- Dirty clothing and unwashed sheets
- Financial changes that are unexplained, including transfers of money
When visiting your family member, it should be easy and unrestricted. There shouldn’t be any waiting periods or requirements for explicit permission. Imposing limitations on spending time with them or mandating the presence of a team member can hinder your family member’s ability to communicate their concerns. Such constraints might serve as red flags, signaling the urgency of seeking help for them.
Taking immediate action is crucial if you observe any changes in your family member’s behavior or condition. Reach out to a trusted legal team promptly for immediate assistance.
An experienced attorney handling nursing home abuse and neglect claims can promptly offer assistance. Your prompt action is not just about legal recourse; it’s also about safeguarding your family member’s well-being without delay.
What Can You Do If You Suspect Abuse in a Nursing Home?
If you suspect abuse or feel the care they’re receiving is inadequate, take action.
Nursing home lawyers encourage you to file a complaint immediately with the proper authorities when necessary. They also encourage you to reach out to management to alert them of what you believe is occurring. They may deny it, may not acknowledge your complaint, or may seem very concerned but fail to act on it.
For this reason, you must continue to pursue support for your family member. You can report the neglect to the appropriate state office, often a Nursing Home Ombudsman.
At this point, you should contact an attorney for immediate help. Your lawyer will provide immediate guidance on what to do to protect your loved one, which might involve moving them.
Your attorney can then assist by:
- Getting your family members to a safe location. This may require taking action to file a claim with Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance covering the facility to get them into a safer location.
- Demanding access to medical records and other data that can help to show any instances of abuse or neglect occurring.
- Compassionately working with you and your family to document what occurred and why.
When necessary, a nursing home abuse lawyer will guide you in filing a police report and reporting the abuse to the proper authorities in Charleston and the state.
There is nothing a lawyer can do to take away what occurred, especially when this type of abuse leads to damage to health or even the loss of life. However, they can get justice for your family members and hold those responsible accountable for the losses. More so, they can work to minimize the risk of this happening to another family.
What Type of Compensation Can You Recover in a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?
One legal measure involves initiating a claim against the nursing home, seeking compensation for the financial and non-economic losses endured by your loved one and family due to the neglect and abuse. An experienced attorney aims to meticulously evaluate and ascertain the extent of these losses.
Each situation has unique challenges, and your attorney’s commitment should involve closely collaborating with you to grasp the profound impact of the abuse on you or your family members’ lives.
Some examples of losses you might seek compensation for include:
- Medical bills that stem from the care needs of your family member due to the abuse
- The cost of transferring a person to another location
- The cost of living expenses
- Cost of replacement of stolen or lost belongings or those damaged by staff
- Lost income as a result of the time you spent supporting your family member
- Costs associated with rehabilitation and therapy after the abuse occurs
- Compensation for your legal fees
Alongside physical injuries, your family member might have endured substantial pain and suffering, emotional distress, and significant disruptions to their quality of life. These non-economic damages hold immense value despite having no inherent financial price tag.
Did Your Loved One Die as a Result of Nursing Home Abuse?
Unfortunately, many times, nursing home injury clients are family members of a loved one who died as a result of the abuse or neglect they faced at a nursing home.
There is nothing an attorney can do to restore that or ease the pain. However, they can work hard to get compensation for the losses you incurred and some consequences for those who caused this.
Facing a wrongful death claim like this involves overcoming numerous obstacles, including the need to prove that the person’s death directly resulted from the neglect and abuse that occurred.
A nursing home abuse attorney will work to gather evidence to support this claim, including medical records, employee records, witness statements, and expert witness statements, all to ensure they have every bit of evidence possible.
Your lawyer will then pursue compensation from those responsible. That may involve alerting the authorities, but it also can include filing a civil lawsuit against the responsible facilities and companies.
These are very important cases that carry a lot of weight, and facilities will have experienced attorneys and insurance adjusters working to minimize your compensation. You need your own advocate.
Consult with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Near You
A nursing home abuse attorney is ready to fight for your loved one. Even with this new proposed law, there will still be many additional instances in which nursing homes and long-term care facilities drop the ball and fail to provide the necessary support that their residents need.
If you suspect your family member has suffered abuse or neglect, never wait to engage the experience of a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. You want to find a legal team that dedicates itself to advocating for the rights of individuals affected by elder abuse and amplifies their voices in the pursuit of justice.
Seeking legal counsel from a nursing home abuse lawyer is a pivotal step to safeguarding your family member. Don’t delay—reach out as soon as possible.
An attorney can provide a complimentary consultation, offering vital information and acting swiftly to protect your family member or yourself from further harm or neglect.
Nathan Hughey, an attorney and fourth-generation South Carolinian, founded Hughey Law Firm in 2007. Before that, he spent five years defending nursing homes and insurance companies. Leveraging his experience, he now advocates for those injured or wronged by such entities, securing over $220 million in verdicts and settlements.