If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, contact a nursing home lawyer in Jonesboro, Georgia. Residents living in a nursing home or elder care facility rely on the staff to provide quality care and companionship. Unfortunately, these basic human needs are not always respected resulting in substandard care, mistreatment, neglect, and abuse.
Whether you are the loved one of an elder or are a resident yourself, you might have concerns about your rights. Fortunately, there are a number of federal and state laws that protect residents from neglect and exploitation. Many of these laws have been in place for several decades in a response to the profound increase of nursing home abuse, injuries, and deaths. If you are concerned about your loved one, contact a Jonesboro, GA nursing home lawyer now.
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987
In 1987, Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act. This legally required all nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident.” Included in the act were 10 basic rights that every elder deserves. They include:
-The right to be free from mistreatment, neglect, or abuse
-The right to be free from unnecessary restraint
-The right to privacy and confidentiality
-The right to access social, physical, psychological, and medical needs/treatment
-The right to partake in group activities
-The right to be treated with respect and dignity
-The right to make independent choices
-The right to speak freely and openly
-The right to review one’s medical records, treatment plans, and be fully informed of any changes
-The right to voice any grievances without reprisal or punishment
Nursing homes and long-term care centers must legally adhere to these rights. If they fail to do so, they may be investigated and fined. The resident or their family members might also seek monetary compensation. The severity of the consequences will depend on whether or not the resident was harmed or placed in immediate danger. If the nursing home has had other offenses, the repercussions could be more serious.
Medicare and Medicaid
Most nursing homes participate in Medicare and Medicaid. By law, they must be compliant with the Nursing Home Reform Act, Title XX of the Social Security Act, and other legislation. A violation of these laws would warrant a revokement of these payments and more.
Despite these laws, at least 150,000 elders report abuse. Most likely, there are thousands more that are not reporting the incident. Because of this, it is prudent that a resident and family members understand their rights while living in a care facility. If at anytime you suspect, or know, abuse is happening, you should contact a nursing home lawyer in Jonesboro, GA.
Dignity Is a Basic Right to Every Human Being
Federal acts and laws discussed above do rely on individual states for enforcement and oversight. In general, each state has different agencies who monitor nursing home conditions, investigate allegations of mistreatment, and order penalties. In addition to contacting a Jonesboro, GA nursing home lawyer, you might want to contact your local state agency to file a formal complaint.
How to Protect Your Senior Relative From Nursing Home Abuse
It is a sad reality that elder abuse occurs in today’s world more often than people want to imagine. Mistreatment committed by nursing home staff can entail physical wounds, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and instilling fear and terror through threats of violence. But, the good news is that there are professionals who can help intervene if such an incident were to happen to someone’s family member while in a nursing home. Through awareness and educating people about the signs of nursing home mistreatment, abuse and neglect, more family members of the senior relative can take action when needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can I do to safeguard my senior family member from abuse?
A: Perhaps the best thing relatives of a senior resident can do is to inform themselves about what nursing home abuse and neglect looks like. It is vital that families do their research and remain consistently involved in their senior loved one’s care, to help prevent against incidents of mistreatment. Senior residents who are unable to speak up for themselves due to a medical condition and don’t have frequent visits may be more at-risk for facing abuse.
Q: What are common signs I can watch out for?
A: When visiting your senior relative, there are symptoms you can watch out for that could arise due to physical, mental, and sexual abuse, in addition to financial exploitation. If you see any of these signs in your senior relative, then it may be time to talk with an attorney and get the appropriate agencies involved:
-Bruises, welts, burns, and/or cuts
-Bone breaks or fractures
-Dehydration and malnutrition
-Abnormal emotional outbursts
-Reclusing away from loved ones
Refusing to talk to anyone
-Weight loss that cannot be explained
-Lack of cleanliness in physical appearance
-Refusing to take prescription medication
-Frequently occurring infections
Q: Can you tell me more about the different forms of mistreatment?
A: Many family members of a senior relative assume that the only abuse that can occur is physical. However, residents may also get taken advantage of financially and in regards to their estate, will, and trusts. Caregivers may pressure seniors into giving them money or stealing it without them even knowing. Relatives can help prevent this from happening by paying attention to their loved one’s financial records and asking about where mysterious purchases are coming from. It may be time for concern if suddenly the terms within your senior loved one’s will have been changed.
Q: What are the statistics on how often nursing home abuse happens?
A: Reports show that approximately one in every three nursing homes receive a violation related to an environment that could have caused harm to residents, while around 10% of these cases actually cause true injury or illness to the senior resident. Despite laws being passed that try to ward off instances of elder abuse, the mistreatment continues to happen due to low staff morale and high turnover rates.
If at any time you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, call a nursing home lawyer Jonesboro, GA clients recommend to find out what to do next. Contact the legal team at Butler Law Firm for more details and assistance on how a Jonesboro, Georgia nursing home lawyer can help you.
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