Nursing home residents depend on nurses, doctors, volunteers, and other staff members to provide companionship and care, and to look after their medical needs. Unfortunately, nursing homes nowadays are unable to deliver the minimum standard of services and violating residents’ rights, as they are subjected to mistreatment, and in some cases, negligence and abuse.
Thankfully, several state and federal laws are in place that protect residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes from neglect and abuse. Most of these laws and regulations have been enforced in the past two decades, due to surge in nursing home abuse, injuries, and deaths coinciding with the increasing population of senior citizens.
Laws and Regulations Protecting Nursing Home Residents
A number of federal laws provide protection to nursing home residents against unethical and abusive practices against the elderly. Some of the important statutes include:
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
This program is available in all 50 states. It was established to advocate the rights of nursing home residents and work to provide resolution for issues pertaining to the needs and care of individual residents. Every state has an Ombudsman office that investigates complaints lodged against a nursing home or assisted living facility related to neglect, abuse, and exploitation.
The purpose of the Older Americans Act is to provide all-inclusive services to older citizens through a vast network of community and state agencies. The primary focus of this program is on health and nutrition issues.
It is a capped entitlement program that grants funds to states so that community-based care can be provided to the disabled and elderly. The budget is allocated for several activities, and a part of it dedicated to efforts for preventing neglect and abuse of nursing home residents.
This legislation was enacted in 1987 and is designed to set quality standards for basic care to nursing home residents. The main purpose of the Nursing Home Reform Act is make every nursing home resident a beneficiary of the Resident’s Bill of Rights. It provides the following rights to residents:
- The right to freedom from any kind of physical restraints
- The right of freedom from negligence, mistreatment, and abuse
- The right to privacy
- The right to communicate freely
- The right to exercise self-determination
- The right to be respected and treated with dignity
- The right to take part in family and resident groups
- The right to accommodation of physical, social, medical, and psychological needs
- The right to express grievances against others without reprisal or discrimination
- The right to take part in reviewing their own care plan, and to be informed of any changes in treatment, care, or change of status in the nursing home or facility in advance
If any nursing home or assisted living facility has been found violating the rights of residents under the Nursing Home Reform Act, the state can impose a wide range of penalties, including large fines and staff replacement to improve the management structure of the nursing home.
It can be difficult to determine whether your elderly loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse. If you suspect mistreatment and poor care standards of a nursing home, you should discuss your case with an experienced and reliable nursing home neglect attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.