Fighting for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse Across the Nation
As a larger percentage of our population grows older each year, we increasingly depend on elder care. Unfortunately, there are over one million reports of elder abuse in nursing homes each year. Our nursing home injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm represent families and individuals harmed by elder abuse throughout the country. We can travel to you at no extra cost, bringing 50+ years of collective experience and unparalleled insight from our 10,000+ cases resolved.
Common Nursing Home Injuries
Our firm advocates for individuals who have been victims of injuries in nursing home and long-term care facilities, whether due to negligence or intentional abuse. We believe in fighting for those who do not normally have a voice, giving them a platform for justice.
Find out more about identifying the following types of nursing home injuries:
- Bedsores Also known as pressure ulcers, bedsores will appear on areas of the skin that are under constant pressure. If a personal is lying in a bed in the same position for a lengthy period of time without much movement, they are likely to develop a bedsore.
- Bone Fractures and Breaks A bone fracture is a serious medical condition where there is a break in the continuity of a bone. All bone fractures are broadly categorized as either: closed fractures, open fractures, or compression fractures.
- Bruises A bruise is a soft tissue injury that causes discoloration of the skin. Bruises are often caused by physical trauma to the discolored region. While some people bruise very easily, others only bruise as a result of a serious impact.
- Choking Meal times can be dangerous for nursing home residents that require more attentive care. Employees at many facilities, especially those that operate for profit and are understaffed, may simply dish out trays of food without monitoring residents’ consumption.
- Death Death in a nursing home may be the result of abuse. Signs of abuse to look for include: infections, malnutrition, and tampering with medication.
- Emotional Abuse Emotional or psychological abuse refers to the deliberate infliction of fear or anguish through verbal threats, intimidation, or other forms of maliciousness. This type of abuse can be very subtle and is often not clearly evident to families of loved ones in nursing homes.
- Falls Falls occur for many reasons in nursing homes. Even residents who require the consistent care of nursing home facilities are already prone to such accidents, because of various medical conditions, age, psychological trauma, or physical limitations.
- Financial Exploitation Financial abuse of the elderly can take many forms. Nursing home staff may forge signatures on checks, or elders may be manipulated to make financial decisions by court-appointed guardians.
- Malnutrition & Dehydration Malnutrition and malnourishment are conditions that result from an unbalanced diet that is either excessive or lacking in certain essential vitamins and nutrients. The real concern with these conditions is the extreme likelihood that the resident will develop one of many possible nutrition disorders.
- Veterans Neglect & Abuse The Long Term Care Institute (LTCI) is responsible for surveying VA nursing homes and conducting in-depth reviews. Sadly, these reviews have repeatedly identified a serious failure to treat veterans with respect and dignity.
- Wandering & Elopement According to the American Health Care Association, about 50% of nursing home residents suffer from some form of dementia. Wandering and elopement are common among nursing home residents, and pose an extremely dangerous threat, especially to those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Sepsis Sepsis occurs when bacteria enter into an open wound, catheter, or IV line and cause a severe infection. Chemicals that battle the infection enter the bloodstream, prompt inflammation throughout the body, and create blood clots that block nutrients and oxygen from reaching vital organs.
- Poor Hygiene Nursing home negligence occurs when residents are left unwashed, unattended, or unnoticed for long periods of time. This type of neglect can have serious, life-threatening consequences, not only for the victim, but for other residents as well.
- Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse includes any non-consensual sexual contact, such as touching, rape, photography, videotaping, and verbal harassment. Neglect leading to abuse occurs when nursing home management fails to protect residents from unwarranted sexual contact, fails to report it if it does occur, and fails to properly investigate any suspicions or allegations.
- Medication Errors Overmedicating and wrongly medicating nursing home residents are common signs of nursing home neglect and abuse. Unfortunately, Medicare and Medicaid cuts have decreased the number of competent nursing home staffers available to residents, with many employees overworked and less attentive to their duties.
What Does Nursing Home Abuse Look Like?
According to numerous studies, the most common types of elder abuse fall under the following categories: neglect and abuse. Neglect occurs when a caregiver is negligent or indifferent to the well-being of the elderly person under their care. If a nursing home does not provide the necessary level of care required for the well-being of their resident, they may be negligent. Often, the neglect is not intentional, but rather a result of under-staffing problems at the nursing home.
Abuse of nursing home residents by a staff member or other residents includes physical, mental, and even sexual abuse. There are several types of abuse:
- Physical abuse includes everything from physical evidence of assault, such as bruises and broken bones, to untreated infections and bedsores.
- Mental abuse may be more difficult to detect by the loved ones of a resident, but it can be just as damaging as physical abuse. This type of abuse includes isolation, threats, or intentional negligence.
- Sexual abuse at nursing homes involves sexual harassment or sexual conduct that is forced on a resident without consent and can also cause severe physical and emotional harm.
Common Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Some common warning signs of abuse or neglect in nursing homes include but are not limited to the following:
- Veteran Abuse Common signs of veteran abuse include: insufficient or incompetent staff, lack of sanitary and safe environment, physical and mental abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, improper medication administration.
- Malnutrition & Dehydration Common signs of malnutrition and dehydration include: weight loss, bone or joint pain, changes in the appearance of an individual’s skin or hair.
- Bedsores Common signs of bedsores include: slight discoloration of the skin, broken skin, absence of significant layers of skin, total loss of skin.
- Bone Fractures & Breaks Common bone fractures and breaks include: closed fractures, open fractures, compression fractures.
- Financial Exploitation Common forms of financial exploitation include: impersonating members of religious or government institutions requestion money, court-appointed guardians manipulating financial decisions, nursing home staff forging signatures, blatant theft.
- Emotional Abuse Common signs of emotional abuse include: anxiety or depression, fear or anger toward staff, sudden or involuntary social seclusion, low self-esteem.
- Bruises Common types of bruising include: subcutaneous (beneath the skin), intramuscular (within the underlying muscle), periosteal (a bruise on the bone).
- Death Signs of abuse to look for include: infections, malnutrition, and tampering with medication.
- Choking Common signs of elderly choking include: clogged breathing tubes, bruising around neck, failure to clear airways.
- Falls Nursing home employees are require by law to: implement proper precautions, maintain the cleanliness and safety of the facilities and grounds, keep a watchful eye on residents.
- Wandering & Elopement Common signs of a negligent nursing staff include: no wandering plans in place, lack of wandering management, no prevention of wandering, little or no response to incidences of wandering, use of physical restraints to prevent wandering.
- Sepsis Common signs of sepsis include: mottled skin, abrupt change in mental status, trouble breathing, decreased platelet count, abnormal heart rate, decreased urination.
- Poor Hygiene Common signs of poor hygiene include: facility residents wearing the same clothes day after day, rancid smells that are not taken care of, crusted spills and old messes, messy and unkempt employees, dangerous obstacles in public areas, unclean surfaces, uncontrolled pest problems, unexplained development of emotional or physical problems.
- Sexual Abuse Common signs of sexual abuse include: bruising around breasts or thighs, genital bleeding or infections, trouble walking, discomfort while sitting, STDs.
- Medication Errors Common signs of medication errors include: drastic change in mood or behavior, unexplained weight loss or gain, evidence of confusion or memory loss, unusual physical symptoms.
- National Center on Elder Abuse: Where to Report – Visit the National Center on Elder Abuse website for information on who to contact to report suspected abuse or neglect of your loved one in a nursing home. The site contains nursing home abuse hotlines for each state.
- Nursing Home Injury Laws – More information about the laws that protect you and your loved ones.
What Is Considered Neglect in a Nursing Home?
Nursing home neglect is a form of abuse inflicted upon residents by their long-term care or residential facility. Neglect may be occurring if you notice behavioral changes in your loved one or if you see staff ignore a resident’s personal hygiene, basic needs, or medical needs.
Checking in regularly with your loved one is the most proactive measure you can take to ensure that the facility is meeting their short and long-term needs. There are legal options available if you suspect that your family member’s nursing home is committing neglect.
Speak with a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer to provide insight and counsel as you begin your legal process.
Signs and Observations Commonly Found in Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect carries visible signs that you may think are just a part of aging. However, it’s important to understand the different ways in which neglect may be occurring.
The emotional and social trauma associated with nursing home neglect can cause your loved one to experience a rapid change in their mental health. Changes in personality including depression and isolation are indicative that your loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect.
Poor Personal Hygiene
The nursing home caring for your family member must keep their personal hygiene at a healthy level. The signs of poor personal hygiene, such as untrimmed fingernails, matted hair, and a bad odor can indicate that neglect is occurring.
Older adults need a certain number of calories and vitamins that support their total health. A study by the University of Hawaii that was published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care showed that as much as twenty percent of nursing homes mistreated their patients to the point of malnutrition and dehydration. Health complications may be the result of your family member not getting what they need to survive.
If you notice that your loved one unusually sustained bruising, broken bones, and cuts, then they may be a victim of nursing home neglect. For patients who have balance and mobility issues, their provider must assist them as they move about the facility daily. Failure to do so can qualify as neglect.
Unsanitary Living Conditions
Our basic human needs require us to have safe and clean living conditions. Inspect your loved one’s bedding, clothing, and common living areas for signs of poor sanitation practices or lack of sanitation.
Sudden Financial Changes
If you observe an unexpected depletion of your loved one’s financial resources, be sure to check on the costs that the care facility is charging. Unexpected changes in your loved one’s financial picture are worrisome, and you should investigate immediately.
If you notice you’re your loved one is bleeding, has genital pain, or a sexually transmitted disease, this may indicate that they are suffering from sexual abuse.
Providing Support to Your Loved One
When you see potential signs of nursing home abuse, you should ask your relative’s case manager or assistant about your observations.
Ask your loved one about the care they are receiving and offer support by letting them know that you can help them leave the situation if it is occurring. Their feedback and the facility’s answers can help you evaluate whether there is a cause for concern or not.
You can discuss your findings and suspicions with a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer to help you understand your options for legal redress.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Pursue Compensation for Nursing Home Neglect
If you think that your family member is a victim of nursing home neglect, there is compensation available for their losses. It is not your relative’s fault that someone else caused their injuries. Make the responsible parties answer for their actions.
The nursing home abuse lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you understand your options through our compassionate and caring legal services. If you want more information about what is considered neglect in a nursing home in Chicago, reach out to us. Contact our legal team for a no-obligation case evaluation by calling (800) 842-6336 today. You do not owe us unless we win.
For a free legal consultation with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer serving nationwide, call (800) 842-6336
Can You Sue a Nursing Home For a Fall?
Family members can sue a nursing home in Chicago for a fall if it resulted in an injury and financial losses due to negligent care on behalf of the facility. The individuals assigned to care for him or her have a standard of medical care to uphold. Failing to provide adequate services and reasonable accommodations can result in your loved one falling and sustaining severe injuries, or even experiencing death.
Speak with a Chicago nursing home injury lawyer to explore your options.
Causes of Nursing Home Fall Injuries
The nursing home facility you entrusted to care for you or your loved one must meet the Illinois standard of medical care for professional negligence. Part of achieving this standard requires the nursing home to ensure that the patient is free from trip and fall hazards in common walking areas as well as assisting them throughout the facility, particularly if they have mobility issues.
There are several ways that the nursing home can deviate from the medical care standard, including:
- Improper supervision
- Unsafe activities
- Dim lighting
- Doorway hazards
- Debris in common walkways
- Poorly maintained yards
- Lack of handrail support
- Ill-equipped rooms and living areas
These are the most common causes of nursing home injury falls. Mistakes do happen, but these conditions are something that a licensed nursing home should be able to avoid. Otherwise, they may be held liable for you or your loved one’s fall.
Preventative Measures Should Be in Place
There are usually preventative measures in place that stop nursing home falls from occurring in the first place.
Most commonly, competent and trained staff will implement the following protocols into a patient’s routine to ensure they stay safe:
- Perform routine checks: Regularly checking on your loved one is an excellent way to ensure that fall hazards do not exist. Regular visits to their room is a simple act that diligent staff members use to notice and prevent fall hazards.
- Ongoing staff training: Staff training is critical to patient safety and must meet the guidelines that govern medical care services. Team members should be aware of warning signs that may cause a resident to fall.
- Bedroom accommodations: Your loved one’s bed should be equipped with bed rails to prevent them from falling while climbing in or out, or during sleep. Medical care teams should also adjust the bed height and position to ensure their safety as well.
- Assistance with daily activities: A skilled nursing home facility will help a patient throughout their day, especially if they are at high risk of falling. Staff members should carefully monitor walking, self-care, and recreational activities.
- Keeping family members aware: Another sign of a good nursing home is that they keep family members and providers informed of any instances where a fall has occurred. They can offer insight as to what caused the fall and how to prevent them in the future.
If you suspect that negligence caused your loved one’s accident, you have options for legal restitution. Contact an Illinois nursing home injury lawyer for more information regarding your options and find out whether you should sue a nursing home in Chicago for a fall.
Injuries Sustained in a Fall
Nursing homes in Chicago are not immune to the potential of creating a fall hazard. Falling does not always indicate that an injury has occurred, which is what is a required element of a nursing home negligence claim.
You and your loved one can pursue compensation for a falling accident that has resulted in the following injuries:
- Bone fractures
- Head injuries
- Spine and spinal cord issues
- Emotional trauma
- Wrongful death
Get Help From Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
Your loved one should feel safe from fall accidents at their Chicago nursing home. A Chicago nursing home injury lawyer can investigate if you think that the nursing home is not adequately providing care, especially if it results in an injury and subsequent financial losses.
Contact the legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn more about the opportunities for monetary compensation available and to decide whether you should sue a nursing home in Chicago for a fall. Request a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (800) 842-6336 today.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 842-6336
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home?
The laws enacted by the State of Illinois govern how long you have to file a lawsuit against a nursing home in Chicago. Nursing home abuse and neglect can fall under several areas of law, including personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. This information is relevant since the statute of limitations has different lengths in each type of case.
Missing the statute of limitations means that you may have lost your opportunity for fair compensation. The only way you can be sure is by discussing your case with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. They can provide legal counsel and guidance that helps you understand how long you have to file a lawsuit against a nursing home in Chicago.
Understanding the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act was voted in by the public and enacted by legislators to ensure the protection and safety of nursing home patients. The State of Illinois addresses potential issues and injuries stemming from abuse, neglect, and a breach in the standard of care in nursing homes.
Courts impose a statute of limitations that describes the length of time you have available to file a claim, in correspondence with the act.
Statute of Limitations to File a Nursing Home Lawsuit
A statute of limitations sets the deadlines on claims that people have to file a lawsuit against a negligent party. The statute of limitations will vary depending on what type of case your attorney files against a nursing home in Chicago. Your case will fall under a personal injury, medical malpractice, or wrongful death claim.
Personal injury law seeks to provide restitution to nursing home residents who sustained injuries from a negligent provider. Common types of nursing home personal injury claims involve abuse, discrimination, improper care, and assault. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Illinois is two years from the date of the injury.
Medical malpractice occurs when the nursing home does not meet the standard of medical care required by law. Common types of nursing home medical malpractice cases involve diagnosis errors, medication errors, and failure to properly treat your loved one. The statute of limitations on claims of medical malpractice in Illinois is two years from the date of the injury.
Wrongful death is a type of personal injury case involving the negligent injuries that caused the death of a loved one. Nursing home wrongful death can stem from several negligent sources commonly seen in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. The statute of limitations on claims of wrongful death in Illinois is between one and two years from the date of death.
If you miss the deadline, it is probable that the nursing home will present a motion to dismiss your case. The judge will likely agree and approve the motion, which means that you have lost entitlement to your claim. However, there may be an opportunity to pursue your claim even if you missed your deadline.
What To Do if You Think You Missed the Civil Lawsuit Timeline
The statute of limitations laws exist for several reasons:
First, they ensure that plaintiffs have ample opportunity to evaluate their medical prognosis so that they receive fair compensation depending on their situation. Second, it is a law that prevents the court system from having a backlog of cases waiting to go on the court’s docket. Third, a statute of limitations protects the accused, as well, since it is unjustifiable that one party or entity can indefinitely hold a claim over someone.
If you believe that you missed the statute of limitations, you can still discuss the potential of filing a claim with a nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer. Some particular events and circumstances allow you to proceed in filing a claim anyway.
Only a licensed and experienced legal professional can help you determine if there is potential in still filing your lawsuit.
We Will Help You Understand Your Nursing Home Case
The legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wants to help you understand the elements of your case and the deadlines under which you must file. You can talk to us about the details of your case during a free, no-obligation consultation today at (800) 842-6336.
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Can My Lawyer Settle My Nursing Home Injury Case Without Me?
Your lawyer cannot settle your nursing home injury case without you in Chicago. While your lawyer can handle many aspects of your nursing home case on your behalf, under no circumstances can a lawyer accept an offer without your consent unless you have given the attorney preauthorization to do so previously.
Your Lawyer Cannot Accept an Offer Without Your Consent
Without exception, your attorney cannot settle your nursing home injury case without you in Chicago. It is unlawful for them to settle on your behalf without your approval. If this occurs, you may be able to file a complaint to the Illinois Attorney General through the Office of the Inspector General.
Relying on your attorney for legal counsel and guidance is part of the process. However, the final decision on whether to settle is up to you.
When You Must Be Present for Your Nursing Home Injury Case
If you live out of state, having a lawyer in Chicago who can handle your case can be beneficial. Because many people today have cellular telephones, the travel required for your lawsuit is minimized. While the nursing home injury lawyer you hire will handle the majority of your case from their office, there are certain moments where your physical presence may be requested, including:
- Pre-trial and trial court dates
- Mediation or arbitration
- Testifying in court
While the preceding list is not entirely exhaustive, there are other scenarios where a judge can order your physical presence. By hiring a Chicago nursing home injury lawyer, they can act as a buffer between you and the courts by advocating on your behalf. They will ensure that the courts are aware of your location and your lawyer will seek out opportunities to accommodate your limitations.
Accommodations Are Available For Out-of-State Residents
There are a few ways in which your attorney will look to accommodate you as an out-of-state party. Depending upon how far away you live, the following arrangements may be possible for managing your case:
- Telephonic appearances
- Video conferences
- Remote depositions
- Remote mediation or arbitration
- Seeking restitution for your travel expenses
Unless a court orders you to be physically present, your attorney can work to make the justice process easier on you and your loved ones.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Helps Resolve Nursing Home Injury Cases
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm works with families after their loved one sustained a nursing home injury. We can handle most aspects of your case on your behalf, but your lawyer will not settle your case without your consent.
We are prepared to:
- Answer any questions you have
- Keep you updated at every stage of your case
- Represent you in court, if necessary
- Handle communication with other parties
Call our office today at (800) 842-6336.
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What Is the Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Abuse?
The statute of limitations is a formal deadline, which you have to file a case in court. The statute of limitations for nursing home abuse in Chicago depends on whether you are submitting the lawsuit as personal injury, medical malpractice, or wrongful death. Each case must follow the varying deadlines set forth by the State of Illinois.
Missing this critical time frame means that you may not be able to pursue compensation for the financial, physical, and emotional losses inflicted on you or your loved one. Speaking with a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer is the most direct way to determine if you have an actionable claim. Comprehensive legal professionals typically offer a free consultation to discuss the details of your case’s potential.
The Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Abuse
The statute of limitations for abuse in nursing homes depends on the type of claim under which you are filing in civil court. Typical forms of Illinois nursing home abuse cases include personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.
In general, these are the deadlines by which you have to file a complaint according to the type of suit:
- Personal injury: Up to two years from the date of the injury.
- Medical malpractice: Up to four years from the date of the injury.
- Wrongful death: Up to two years from the death of party.
Missing the statute of limitations on a nursing home abuse claim carries consequences that affect your ability to obtain compensation. Therefore, it is important to discuss the timeline of your case with a nursing home abuse attorney to avoid missing your opportunity for legal redress.
Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim Could Result in Compensation
If you are within the statute of limitations for your case, your personal injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for the injuries you or your loved one sustained.
In Illinois, courts allow you to request the following types of monetary awards:
- Economic awards: Medical bills, therapy, funeral costs, and other verifiable expenses are the types of economic awards you can request in a nursing home abuse claim. Your elder abuse lawyer will help you keep track of these expenses and include them in your claim.
- Non-economic awards: This type of monetary award aims to compensate you for the physical pain and emotional trauma you or your loved one suffered as a result of negligent care. You can request compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, wrongful death, and loss of enjoyment.
- Punitive awards: Punitive awards are rare to receive since Illinois judges reserve them for the most extreme acts of willful and intentional negligence in nursing homes. However, your attorney may recommend that you include them in your initial petition.
The State of Illinois does not place a limit on the amount of economic and non-economic awards you can receive so as long as the court approves them.
No matter the award amount for which you are asking, it is important that you file your case before the Illinois statute of limitations expires. If you do miss it, however, there may still be an opportunity to file an abuse claim.
Missing the Statute of Limitations for Abuse in Nursing Homes
If there is growing concern as you get close to the deadline—or even it has already passed—you may still be able to receive financial awards related to elder abuse in nursing homes. There are specific situations and scenarios that courts will allow an extension for; however, for other cases, the deadlines are compulsory, and ignoring them may result in a dismissal of your case.
The only way that you can be sure if your case falls within the statute of limitations, is by sharing the details and timeline of your case with a nursing home abuse lawyer. They have the experience, training, and knowledge that can determine if you have an actionable claim. From there, your lawyer will work with you to establish a legal case strategy that produces the most beneficial results.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help
The legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will help you work through the details of your case to understand the statute of limitations for nursing home abuse in Chicago. You should not have to pay for injuries caused by someone you trusted to take care of you or your loved one.
Learn more about the next steps you should take by contacting our office for a free, no-obligation consultation. You can request yours by calling (800) 842-6336 today.
Nationwide Nursing Home Injury Lawyers
Millions of Americans live in and rely on nursing homes, either for short-term rehabilitation or permanent care. Nursing homes, like any other medical facility, have an enormous responsibility to provide high-quality care and ensure residents are safe at all times. If a nursing home or a member of its staff fails to protect the wellbeing of a resident, an injury may occur due to abuse or neglect. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm represent injured residents and their families throughout the country. We have 50+ years of combined experience, recovering millions of dollars and resolving over 10,000 cases in that time.
Our team of skilled advocates travel directly to our clients throughout the United States, so do not hesitate to call us at (800) 842-6336.
New Illinois Law to Allow Cameras in Nursing Homes
In August 2015, Illinois passed a law allowing cameras in nursing home resident rooms. The law-the Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Facilities Act-will take effect on January 1, 2016. Among its provisions, residents and their roommates must consent to having a video or audio recording device installed. All costs must be paid by the resident or their families.
The Illinois Department of Public Health will establish a program to distribute $50,000 in funds each year to residents (selected by lottery) to purchase and install monitoring devices. Anyone found tampering with, obstructing or destroying these devices will be subject to criminal penalties. Nursing homes may not discriminate or retaliate against residents who install monitoring systems.
The law also contains provisions on facility accommodations, notice of monitoring to visitors, facility access to recordings, admissibility of recordings in legal actions, and other rulemakings. More information on this law can be found on the Illinois General Assembly website.
Residents’ Legal Rights
Under federal law, all nursing homes must have written policies preventing abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of any kind. Upon admittance, residents must know and understand these policies as well as their rights as residents. This is typically included in the Admission Contract, which is a legal document that defines services, fees, responsibilities, and other details of the relationship between the resident and the nursing home.
In 1987, Congress enacted the Nursing Home Reform Act, which requires facilities accepting Medicare and Medicaid to maintain the highest possible levels of physical, mental and psychosocial wellbeing for all residents. Included in the Act is the Residents’ Bill of Rights, which establishes ten rights ranging from the right to freedom from physical restraints to the right to voice grievances without discrimination.
All facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid must comply with federal regulations at minimum. Some examples of these regulations include:
- Ensuring residents do not develop bedsores and, if sores do develop, to provide the necessary treatment to prevent infection, promote healing, and prevent new sores.
- Maintaining acceptable levels of nutrition and hydration.
- Providing pharmaceutical services and ensuring residents are free of any medication errors.
- Maintaining accurate, complete and easily accessible clinical records.
Residents have the right to make their own medical decisions and be fully informed in advance about any changes in their care. If a resident is deemed mentally incapacitated – such as those with severe dementia – they will need a representative to act as their power of attorney for medical care. The person chosen to act as power of attorney is granted authority to make medical decisions, limited to the residents’ written instructions, if applicable. Residents may also sign Advance Directives, which outline the residents’ medical decisions in the event that they become incapacitated.
There are two types of power of attorneys: medical and financial. Financial power of attorney grants the agent the ability to manage the daily financial affairs of the resident. Agents must make decisions on behalf of the resident in good faith and in their best interest.
A power of attorney is an important responsibility that should be discussed as soon as possible. If a resident becomes mentally incapacitated before power of attorney is assigned, their family members may go to court to obtain an Order of Guardianship of Person and/or Property. These documents indicate who is appointed by the judge to make medical and/or financial decisions.
State Nursing Home Laws
Every state has its own laws regarding nursing homes. More information on your state’s unique laws can be found on our nursing homes state laws page.
While we try to keep this information current, the law is subject to change and it may not be reflected here immediately. If you have a legal question or problem, please consult an attorney immediately.
Answers from Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Do I need any money to hire your firm?
No, you do not. We work strictly on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only get paid if we win your case and you get paid.
Can you represent me in any state?
Attorneys are able to represent clients in any state either through the reciprocity of a state’s bar rules, court approval, or through local co-counsel. In over two decades, the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has represented clients in almost every state.
How do I know if nursing home abuse or neglect is occurring?
That is why you hire us. Nursing home abuse and neglect can often be difficult to discover, but there are some symptoms and warning signs you should be looking for if you suspect it. With regards to physical and sexual abuse, you should always inspect your loved one’s body for bruises, cuts, wounds, or scars. While elderly residents are more prone to these injuries, if the injuries are reoccurring that is often a sign of abuse. With regards to mental abuse, this can be more difficult to observe but common symptoms are a change in demeanor and personality of the resident, accompanied by withdrawal from others and isolation. With regards to neglect, similar injuries can serve as symptoms, as well as dramatic weight loss and non-existent hygiene. Lastly, pertaining to financial exploitation, you should monitor your family member’s finances looking for checks being written to and gifts being given to nursing home staff.
What are typical examples of nursing home abuse or neglect?
Nursing home abuse and neglect can manifest in many different forms. Nursing home abuse can be physical, mental, financial, and sexual. Physical abuse consists of any inappropriate touching, hitting, biting, or any other physical interaction between nursing home staff and nursing home residents. Mental abuse consists of any improper communicative interaction. Financial abuse and exploitation is any inappropriate usage of a resident’s monetary funds or tangible goods. Lastly, neglect consists of a knowing failure to attend to the residents’ needs.
Who is responsible for nursing home abuse or neglect?
The nursing home staff and administration are directly responsible for any nursing home abuse and or neglect that occurs to a loved one. It is not only their responsibility to care for these individuals, but it is their job and they are being paid for services they may not be rendering.
What can I do to help prevent it?
There are many important preventative measures that should be taken by those that need to place their loved one in a nursing home or elderly care facility. First, individuals should inspect several nursing homes before selecting one, visiting them and reading reports on them.
Second, after selecting a home, family members and friends should frequently visit the nursing home their loved one resides in and get to know the staff and other residents at that facility. Lastly, it is important that if your loved one is not mentally able, they should no longer be in charge of their finances and property; that should be managed by a family member or attorney.
If a doctor is supervising a nurse who makes a crucial error and causes injury, will damages be sought against the doctor or the nurse?
You are going to sue anybody who is an employee of the hospital. If the doctor is an employee and the nurse is an employee, you sue them both. If the doctor is not an employee and the nurse is an employee, you still sue them both. At the end of the day, you sue whoever you think may have responsibility. Then, as you go through discovery, you find out who is really at fault. You keep those parties who are at fault and you dismiss those who are not.
Call a Pintas & Mullins Nursing Home Attorney for Nationwide Counsel
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we represent residents who have been injured through neglect or abuse in a nursing home. Our firm has represented residents and families throughout the country, granting us a proven record of success. We handle cases involving bedsores, dehydration and malnutrition, elopement, fractured bones, sexual abuse, and falls. Don’t hesitate to fight for the rights of your loved one. With millions recovered since 1985, you can trust that our firm has a knowledgeable advantage in your case.
Contact our firm for a free case review. We are ready to stand up for your rights.